Fungal microflora of allergenic pollens

Radoslaw Spiewak, Ewa Krysinska-Traczyk

Department of Aerobiology, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland

Published in: R. Spiewak (Editor): "Pollens and Pollinosis: Current Problems". Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin (Poland) 1995, pages 36-37. (The book's table of contents.)


To determine the fungal microflora typical for allergenic pollens of wind-pollinated plants.


Samples of rye pollen (Secale cereale, harvested 1994), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, harvested 1994), birch (Betula verrucosa, 1994), and alder (Alnus glutinosa, 1995).


The pollens were suspended in sterile and pyrogen-free 0.9% NaCl solution in proportion 100 mg/10 ml. Next, the serial dilutions 10-2, 10-3, 10-4 were cultured on malt agar (Difco). Colonies were counted and differentiated and the results were expressed in colony forming units (CFU) per one gram.


The results are presented in the Table 1.

Table 1.




Rye (Secale cereale) 1994



Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) 1994

Alternaria sp.


Oidiodendron sp.


Penicillium sp.


Cephalosporium charticola


Birch (Betula verrucosa) 1994

Cladosporium sp.




Penicillium sp.


Alder (Alnus glutinosa) 1995

Penicillium sp.



It was shown that different species of fungi can be cultured from the pollens of anemophilous plants. Fungi and their products, similarly to bacteria, can cause allergic and immunotoxic reactions. It could be possible that the presence of fungi and their products may contribute to allergic symptoms provoked by pollen exposure. For example, fungi belonging to the genera Penicillium, Alternaria and Cladosporium possess strong allergenic properties. However, on the basis of the presented study it is difficult to say, whether the presence of the particular fungal spora or mycelia plays a relevant role in the development of symptoms in patients sensitive to pollens.


On the allergenic pollens a mixed fungal microflora is present which contains filamentous fungi from the genera Aspergillus, Penicillium, Cladosporium, Oidiodendron and yeasts. Further studies are needed to determine their potential role in the etiopathogenesis of pollinosis.

Acknowledgements: This study was kindly supported by the firm Biomed, Krakow. The authors wish to thank Mrs. Wieslawa Lisowska for her excellent laboratory work.

Final results of this study were published in:

  1. Spiewak R., Skorska C., Prazmo Z., Dutkiewicz J. Bacterial endotoxin associated with pollen as a potential factor aggravating pollinosis. Ann Agric Environ Med 1996, 3, 57-59.
  2. Spiewak R., Krysinska-Traczyk E., Sitkowska J., Dutkiewicz J. Microflora of allergenic pollens - a preliminary study. Ann Agric Environ Med 1996, 3, 127-130.

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