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    Pollen

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    Agent-Based Modeling of Pollen Competition

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    Non-random mating in Arabidopsis Thaliana is, at least in part, due to intense competition between pollen grains to fertilize the limited number of ovules. Previous studies have pinpointed some of the competition traits that make pollen more or less competitive. Using these competition traits, we will build an agent-based computer model with NetLogo that simulates the competition between two accessions of Arabidopsis Thaliana pollen. This 2D model will allow the user to adjust pollen traits and competition strategies for each of the two pollen accessions. Some of the factors being considered include pollen viability, pollen tube growth rate, nutrients provided by the female, pollen tube attrition and the means of locating unfertilized ovules. To assess the competitiveness of the selected pollen traits, this model will track the number of fertilized ovules and maximum pollen tube length for each accession. This agent-based model will allow further study into the traits that make pollen most competitive as well as the strategies used by pollen to fertilize ovules. This model has the potential to quickly test a wide variety of competition traits and strategies without the need for in-lab experiments

    Identifying Urban Sources as Cause of Elevated Grass Pollen Concentrations using GIS and Remote Sensing

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    We examine here the hypothesis that during flowering, the grass pollen concentrations at a specific site reflect the distribution of grass pollen sources within a few kilometres of this site.We perform this analysis on data from a measurement campaign in the city of Aarhus (Denmark) using three pollen traps and by comparing these observations with a novel inventory of grass pollen sources. The source inventory is based on a new methodology developed for urbanscale grass pollen sources. The new methodology is believed to be generally applicable for the European area, as it relies on commonly available remote sensing data combined with management information for local grass areas. The inventory has identified a number of grass pollen source areas present within the city domain. The comparison of the measured pollen concentrations with the inventory shows that the atmospheric concentrations of grass pollen in the urban zone reflect the source areas identified in the inventory, and that the pollen sources that are found to affect the pollen levels are located near or within the city domain. The results also show that during days with peak levels of pollen concentrations there is no correlation between the three urban traps and an operational trap located just 60 km away. This finding suggests that during intense flowering, the grass pollen concentration mirrors the local source distribution and is thus a local-scale phenomenon. Model simulations aimed at assessing population exposure to pollen levels are therefore recommended to take into account both local sources and local atmospheric transport, and not to rely only on describing regional to long-range transport of pollen. The derived pollen source inventory can be entered into local-scale atmospheric transport models in combination with other components that simulate pollen release in order to calculate urban-scale variations in the grass pollen load. The gridded inventory with a resolution of 14m is therefore made available as supplementary material to this paper, and the verifying grass pollen observations are additionally available in tabular form

    Automation of pollen analysis using a computer microscope : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering in Computer Systems Engineering at Massey University

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    The classification and counting of pollen is an important tool in the understanding of processes in agriculture, forestry, medicine and ecology. Current pollen analysis methods are manual, require expert operators, and are time consuming. Significant research has been carried out into the automation of pollen analysis, however that work has mostly been limited to the classification of pollen. This thesis considers the problem of automating the classification and counting of pollen from the image capture stage. Current pollen analysis methods use expensive and bulky conventional optical microscopes. Using a solid-state image sensor instead of the human eye removes many of the constraints on the design of an optical microscope. Initially the goal was to develop a single lens microscope for imaging pollen. In-depth investigation and experimentation has shown that this is not possible. Instead a computer microscope has been developed which uses only a standard microscope objective and an image sensor to image pollen. The prototype computer microscope produces images of comparable quality to an expensive compound microscope at a tenth of the cost. A segmentation system has been developed for transforming images of a pollen slide, which contain both pollen and detritus, into images of individual pollen suitable for classification. The segmentation system uses adaptive thresholds and edge detection to isolate the pollen in the images. The automated pollen analysis system illustrated in this thesis has been used to capture and analyse four pollen taxa with a 96% success rate in identification. Since the image capture and segmentation stages described here do not affect the classification stage it is anticipated that the system is capable of classifying 16 pollen taxa, as demonstrated in earlier research

    Release of Bet v 1 from birch pollen from 5 European countries. Results from the HIALINE study

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    Exposure to allergens is pivotal in determining sensitization and allergic symptoms in individuals. Pollen grain counts in ambient air have traditionally been assessed to estimate airborne allergen exposure. However, the exact allergen content of ambient air is unknown. We therefore monitored atmospheric concentrations of birch pollen grains and the matched major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 simultaneously across Europe within the EU-funded project HIALINE (Health Impacts of Airborne Allergen Information Network). Pollen count was assessed with Hirst type pollen traps at 10 l min 1 at sites in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Finland. Allergen concentrations in ambient air were sampled at 800 l min 1 with a Chemvol high-volume cascade impactor equipped with stages PM > 10 mm, 10 mm > PM > 2.5 mm, and in Germany also 2.5 mm > PM > 0.12 mm. The major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 was determined with an allergen specific ELISA. Bet v 1 isoform patterns were analyzed by 2D-SDS-PAGE blots and mass spectrometric identification. Basophil activation was tested in an Fc 3R1-humanized rat basophil cell line passively sensitized with serum of a birch pollen symptomatic patient. Compared to 10 previous years, 2009 was a representative birch pollen season for all stations. About 90% of the allergen was found in the PM > 10 mm fraction at all stations. Bet v 1 isoforms pattern did not vary substantially neither during ripening of pollen nor between different geographical locations. The average European allergen release from birch pollen was 3.2 pg Bet v 1/pollen and did not vary much between the European countries. However, in all countries a >10-fold difference in daily allergen release per pollen was measured which could be explained by long-range transport of pollen with a deviating allergen release. Basophil activation by ambient air extracts correlated better with airborne allergen than with pollen concentration. Although Bet v 1 is a mixture of different isoforms, its fingerprint is constant across Europe. Bet v 1 was also exclusively linked to pollen. Pollen from different days varied >10-fold in allergen release. Thus exposure to allergen is inaccurately monitored by only monitoring birch pollen grains. Indeed, a humanized basophil activation test correlated much better with allergen concentrations in ambient air than with pollen count. Monitoring the allergens themselves together with pollen in ambient air might be an improvement in allergen exposure assessmen

    Wavelet Based Fractal Analysis of Airborne Pollen

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    The most abundant biological particles in the atmosphere are pollen grains and spores. Self protection of pollen allergy is possible through the information of future pollen contents in the air. In spite of the importance of airborne pol len concentration forecasting, it has not been possible to predict the pollen concentrations with great accuracy, and about 25% of the daily pollen forecasts have resulted in failures. Previous analysis of the dynamic characteristics of atmospheric pollen time series indicate that the system can be described by a low dimensional chaotic map. We apply the wavelet transform to study the multifractal characteristics of an a irborne pollen time series. We find the persistence behaviour associated to low pollen concentration values and to the most rare events of highest pollen co ncentration values. The information and the correlation dimensions correspond to a chaotic system showing loss of information with time evolution.Comment: 11 pages, 7 figure

    Detection of Airborne Allegen Phl p5 and its Correlation with Poaceae Pollen Counts in Evora, South Portugal

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    Introduction: Airborne pollen of grasses (Poaceae family) is the main aeroallergen in many european countries, namely in Portugal. Their pollen can be found in the air all over the year but higher concentrations are reached in springtime (Mars to June). Exposure to its allergens is deduced from pollen counts of environmental air samples. The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between these pollen counts and the concentration of allergen Phl p5, through a new sampling technology, developed under an European LIFE/Environment program. Methods: Airborne pollen were monitored with a Hirst-type sampler (Burkard 7-day pollen trap). Simultaneously, daily air samples were collected with a high volumetric cyclone-type sampler (Coriolis ¬ģ d by Bertin Technologies, France) and Phl p5 concentration was measured from liquid samples through a ‚Äúsandwich‚ÄĚ ELISA with a kit from Indoor Biotecnologies¬ģ. Both samplers were placed side by side on a meteorological platform at the town center of Evora, 17 m above ground level and 320 m above sea level. ELISA analysis were performed on samples collected between the 2th of Mars and 12 th of June 2007, which includes the main pollen season for grasses and Phleum pratense. Results: Pollen counts from both samplers were not correlated, with absolute values higher in Burkard sampler. Phl p5 concentration in air samples followed the same features of cyclone-type sampler but it was quantified even when pollen counts were low or null, particularly in the beginning of pollen season. Several peaks of allergen were detected at the end of March and on the 1st - 2nd of April. Conclusions: Coriolis ¬ģ d cyclone sampler allowed the quantification of Poaceae either by pollen counts and by an ELISA assay but further analysis on the efficiency of sampling and its relationship with biophysical parameters are needed. These results suggest that pollen counts may not reflect exposure to Poaceae pollen. Immuno-sampling could provide a better understanding of exposure to airborne pollen allergens, namely out of the pollen season

    Pollen elicits proboscis extension but does not reinforce PER learning in honeybees

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    The function of pollen as a reward for foraging bees is little understood, though there is evidence to suggest that it can reinforce associations with visual and olfactory floral cues. Foraging bees do not feed on pollen, thus one could argue that it cannot serve as an appetitive reinforcer in the same way as sucrose. However, ingestion is not a critical parameter for sucrose reinforcement, since olfactory proboscis extension (PER) learning can be conditioned through antennal stimulation only. During pollen collection, the antennae and mouthparts come into contact with pollen, thus it is possible that pollen reinforces associative learning through similar gustatory pathways as sucrose. Here pollen was presented as the unconditioned stimulus (US), either in its natural state or in a 30% pollen-water solution, and was found to elicit proboscis extension following antennal stimulation. Control groups were exposed to either sucrose or a clean sponge as the US, or an unpaired presentation of the conditioned stimulus (CS) and pollen US. Despite steady levels of responding to the US, bees did not learn to associate a neutral odour with the delivery of a pollen reward, thus whilst pollen has a proboscis extension releasing function, it does not reinforce olfactory PER learning

    An investigation into differential lateral dispersion of fossil forest tree pollen

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    Pollen rain phenomena with particular reference to forest pollen are discussed with evidence from FAEGRI.K and IVERSON.J, TAUBER.H, TURNER.J, and DAVIS .M. B. The existence of fossil tree pollen rain in raised bogs is postulated. The problem of local bog pollen in the peat against which to count a varying forest pollen rain is seen as the major statistical problem', relating to even distribution both vertically and horizontally in the peat. Bolton Fell is described as an ideal zone VIb bog to illustrate fossil tree pollen dispersion. Preliminary Investigation of peat showed this bog to contain VIIb peat and the N. margin of the bog proved most suitable. A 500m transect was laid out and levelled with depth measurements every l0m. Thirteen profile simples were taken at Intervals. From eight replicate samples taken over the centre metre of each profile pollen slides were prepared and all grains counted until 150 tree grains had bean recorded. The varying numbers of bog plant pollen were used to compute the actual change in forest pollen frequency. The figures obtained are plotted against distance. A real reduction in forest pollen frequency is clearly shown from 0-100m with differences between values statistically valid, so confirming the work of TAUBER and TURNER on extant forest pollen dispersion. Anomalously higher values for fores pollen further out on transect are discussed, and an explanatory hypothesis outlined of a slowly growing bog with trees possibly growing in it on 'islands' of shallow peat

    Pollen characterisation of Maltese honey

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    In 2004 and 2005, pollen characterisation of 35 samples of honey collected from the islands of Malta and Gozo, was carried out with the aim to identify the botanical origin of honey produced on these islands. Pollen was extracted from the honey samples via centrifugation and identified to pollen type, generic level and where possible, specific level via microscopic analysis. This was done by comparison with available literature and with the aid of prepared reference slides of pollen collected from the plant species commonly present in the Maltese islands. A total of 61 pollen types were identified from 33 families. The best represented families were the Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae and Apiaceae. Thyme (Thymbra capitata (L.) CAV.) pollen was found to be predominant in ten samples, with a percentage frequency that ranged from 10\% to 67\%. Hedysarum coronarium L. was found to be predominant in five honey samples with percentage frequencies from 48\% to 78\% while Lotus spp. pollen was found to be predominant in one honey sample with a percentage frequency of 57\%. The remaining 14 honey samples possessed pollen spectra which were characterized by a few frequent pollen types that possessed similar percentage frequencies and were thus considered to be multifloral. This is the first work of pollen characterisation of Maltese honey.peer-reviewe
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