A CRITICAL PRESENTATION OF INNOVATIVE TECHNIQUES FOR AUTOMATED POLLEN IDENTIFICATION IN AEROBIOLOGICAL MONITORING NETWORKS pp. 273-288
Authors: (Rossana Dell’Anna, Antonella Cristofori, Elena Gottardini, Francesca Monti, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Center for Materials and Microsystems, Trento, Italy, and others)
Abstract: Pollen grains are one of the major causes of respiratory allergies. We briefly review the role of aerobiological monitoring centers in providing information about airborne pollen concentration for helping allergic patients to reduce exposition to allergens and to start appropriate drug treatments. Spatial and temporal resolution of this information should be increased. However, the effort required by the technique currently used to identify and count the airborne pollen grains hinders this improvement. Therefore, innovative classification approaches were investigated. In particular, we studied the feasibility of methodologies developed in the spectroscopic and biomolecular field, with the aim at providing rapid, accurate and possibly automated airborne pollen concentration measurements. In this chapter the state of the art in this field is outlined as well as our obtained results; we discuss both the proof of principle of the applicability of such techniques for pollen quantification and, from a more practical point of view, the feasibility of implementing them in aerobiological centers as routine identification tools. Possible future improvements of developed techniques to solve current weaknesses are also examined.