We carry out an assessment of variation in the spectrum of bio-aerosols in the atmosphere in space and time, its modelling, and inform the public about the allergenic potential in the ambient air, the manifestation of symptoms. We can also carry out an assessment of indoor air pollution by allergens.
ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS
Evaluation of synergistic effect of allergenic pollen and air quality on human health (LORI). This research has received funding from the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT), agreement No S-MIP-19-53. The project is based on the idea of clean air and focuses on the goals to find answers whether persons sensitised to pollen are experience exacerbation of symptoms not only due to the persistent effects of allergens but also because of synergy with air pollution, high air temperature, thunderstorm or complex of air temperature and relative humidity during the vegetation season in Lithuania. During the implementation of the project, for the first time, employing scientific methods, Lithuania-specific load of allergenic pollen for not less than four plant taxa (alder, birch, grass and mugwort) will be defined. The identified indicator will be adapted for wide daily use in the form of the pollen index, which will enable a person to monitor his health status.
Automatic Pollen Detection Network (AutoPollen), EUMETNET programme. The program is designed to standardize airborne pollen measurements, carried out by automatic devices, in Europe for the first time.
A novel real‐time airborne pollen recognition and modelling system for allergenic pollen forecast (REALTIME) No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0066. Research supports the European Social Fund (project no. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712-01-0066) under the grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT). At present, traditional methods consist of trapping airborne biological particles and counting particles manually. Procedures are time consuming, require long training for palynologists and are highly susceptible to human error due to fatigue or inexperience. Automated real time pollen recognition would solve the problem. New methods for identification of airborne biological particles are based on spectral image recognition or laser optics technology. Hardware has been created, but software for recognition and reference databases are very limited, sometimes non-existent. Development of these databases, based on laboratory and field experiments is a considerable amount of work; therefore, it has never been done. Besides, geographical variability of the pollen features inevitably requires establishment of several regional centres of calibration in Europe.
The aim is to develop a digital library for identification of airborne allergenic pollen for real‐time measurements in the Baltic Sea region and use data for the cuting‐edge pollen forecasting model.
The objective is to create algorithms enabling recognition of airborne pollen in real‐time and to implement them in the selected model for pollen forecasting and hindcasting.
IMPLEMENTED RESEARCH PROJECTS
Study on Genetic Susceptibility for Severe Allergic Rhinitis (VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-03-069 GSSAR): analyzing principles of the allergen-human interaction and changes in this interaction arousing due to mutations in the human genome, we carried out large-scale clinical genotyping, sequencing. Using chemical-molecular-biological tools, we disclosed knowledge important for science. We identified original markers that could be used finding out about severe form of human allergic rhinitis and drug targets as well as chemical materials potentially suitable for the synthesis of antiallergic drugs.
Šaulienė, I., Greičiuvienė, J., Šukienė, L., Juškevičiūtė, N., Benner, C., Zinkevičienė, A., Ripatti S., Donner K.,& Kainov, D. (2015). Genetic Loci Associated with Allergic Sensitization in Lithuanians. PloS one, 10(7), e0134188.
Šaulienė, I., Kainov, D., Šukienė, L., & Greičiuvienė, J. (2013). Genetic susceptibility for allergic rhinitis in Lithuania. Allergo Journal, 22(7), 486-486. Šaulienė, I., Šukienė, L., Kainov, D., & Greičiuvienė, J. (2016). The impact of pollen load on quality of life: a questionnaire-based study in Lithuania. Aerobiologia, 32(2), 157-170.
Sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe (FA1203 SMARTER) is an interdisciplinary network intended for ragweed management, uniting various experts: health care professionals, aerobiologists, ecologists, economists, atmospheric and agricultural modelers. More than 120 participants from 33 countries are participating in SMARTER activities.
Sikoparija, B., Skjøth, C. A., Celenk, S., Testoni, C., Abramidze, T., Kübler, K. A., … & Damialis, A. (2017). Spatial and temporal variations in airborne Ambrosia pollen in Europe. Aerobiologia, 33(2), 181-189.
Health Impacts of Airborne Allergen Information Network (HIALINE) was implemented by 13 partners from 11 countries under the leadership of Prof. Dr. J.Buters (ZAUM – The Center of Allergy and Environment, Munich). In all research sites in Europe, it was identified that the allergen content was strongly related to the amount of pollen, which indicates that pollen is the main, if not the only, source of analysed allergens. However, it has also been demonstrated that on certain days pollen produces higher allergen content (higher allergenic potential) than on other days.
Buters JTM, Weichenmeier I, Ochs S, Pusch G, Kreyling W, Boere AJ, Schober W, Behrendt H. The allergen Bet v 1 in fractions of ambient air deviates from birch pollen counts. Allergy 2010; 65:850-858.
Buters, J. T., Thibaudon, M., Smith, M., Kennedy, R., Rantio-Lehtimäki, A., Albertini, R., … & Antunes, C. M. (2012). Release of Bet v 1 from birch pollen from 5 European countries. Results from the HIALINE study. Atmospheric Environment, 55, 496-505.
Buters, J., Prank, M., Sofiev, M., Pusch, G., Albertini, R., Annesi-Maesano, I., … & Celenk, S. (2015). Variation of the group 5 grass pollen allergen content of airborne pollen in relation to geographic location and time in season. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 136(1), 87-95.
Galan, C., Antunes, C., Brandao, R., Torres, C., Garcia‐Mozo, H., Caeiro, E., … & Berger, U. (2013). Airborne olive pollen counts are not representative of exposure to the major olive allergen Ole e 1. Allergy, 68(6), 809-812.
Assessment of Production, Release, Distribution and Health Impact of Allergenic Pollen in Europe (EUPOL) enabled to organize a multidisciplinary forum which (i) carries out a critical review of existing information on representativeness of European allergenic pollen data for assessment and forecasting systems; (ii) identifies areas of insufficiency of existing knowledge; (iii) assists in coordinating further research; (iv) promotes the dialogue with consumers.
LEK 15/2010 Ragweed Distribution, Invasion Possibilities in Lithuania and Airborne Pollen Dispersion. During the last 10 years, the cases of air masses reaching Lithuania, moving from territories in which ragweeds have naturalised and formed abundant overgrowth, became more frequent. This enables us to forecast the increasing number of days when ragweed pollen volumes, not typical to Lithuania, are recorded in the air in the future. The analysis of the origin of pollen disclosed two potential sources of non-native ragweed pollen to Lithuania. When favourable conditions for long-distance transport are formed, pollen reaches our country from Ukraine and the Pannonian/Carpathian Basin. Having assessed European experience and real situation in Lithuania, it is identified that currently the main threat regarding the common ragweed is the impact of pollen on human health. Biometric indicators of common ragweeds grown in Lithuania and the analysis of threats related to spread of ragweeds to Lithuania have demonstrated that the development of corn crops (particularly from imported seeds) in Lithuania can cause ragweed introduction, while changing climatic conditions will enable the development of a sustainable population.
Šaulienė Ingrida, Veriankaitė Laura. Analysis of High Allergenicity Airborne Pollen Dispersion: Common Ragweed Study Case in Lithuania // Annals of agricultural and Environmental Medicine. Lublin: Publisher Institute of Agricultural Medicine. ISSN 1232-1966. 2012, vol.19, no.3, p. 415-419.
Šaulienė Ingrida, Veriankaitė Laura, Šaulys Audrius. Biometrical Assessment of Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) // Žemdirbystė=Agriculture. ISSN 1392-3196. 2012, vol.99, Nr.3, p. 319-326
Šaulienė Ingrida; Gudžinskas Zigmantas; Veriankaitė Laura; Malciūtė Aurelija; Leščiauskienė, Vitalija. Distribution of Ambrosia Plants and Airborne Pollen in Lithuania // International Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment. ISSN 1459-0255. 2011, 9 (2), p. 547-550.
Šaulienė Ingrida [et al.] Kietinė ambrozija Lietuvoje (biologija, ekologija, poveikis): metodinė priemonė. 2011. Šiauliai: Šiaulių universiteto leidykla. 633 Ki-59
Infrastructure of National Aerobiological Scientific Research (AEROINFRA). The aim of three research institutions (former Šiauliai University (now Vilnius University Siauliai Academy), Vilnius University, Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry) and one economic entity (Allergy Clinic) is to join forces to create a national networked infrastructure of aerobiological scientific research (AEROINFRA). This infrastructure will ensure the medium for consolidation of leading scientists to tackle dysfunctions caused by bio-aerosol in the conditions of global changes in a complex manner and use the potential of infrastructure for applied research, developing the added value, and to open up the prospect of cooperation with foreign partners.