Background In recent years, it has been demonstrated that the air carries not only airborne pollen but also plant particles of smaller size that have allergenic activity, and, being within the respirable range, these particles can trigger rapid attacks in the lower respiratory tract. The study of particles according to size (0.7–40 μm) could provide valuable information on the real allergenic activity in the atmosphere.
Objective The purpose of this study was to analyse the dynamics of airborne Olea europaea pollen in contrast to the allergenic activity of Ole e 1 in the atmosphere.
Methods The analyses were carried out with a Hirst-type volumetric collector and a cascade impactor simultaneously during the MPS of the olive. The indirect ELISA was used to detect the allergenic activity. The sampling was performed in Granada city centre (S Spain), in the Science Faculty building on the University of Granada from 30 April to 26 June 2005.
Results and conclusions This research demonstrates that both the allergenic activity as well as the pollen particles follow in a similar curve, except in periods before or succeeding the main Olea pollen season. The study of the distribution of the allergenic particles according to their sizes reveals that the highest concentrations are between 3.3 and <0.7 μm, thus indicating that allergenic activity primarily involves paucimicronic particles.