Diurnal pattern of Poaceae and Betula pollen flight in Central Europe

Sci Total Environ. 2023 Nov 20:900:165799. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.165799. Epub 2023 Jul 25.


In Central Europe the most common allergies are provoked by grass or birch pollen allergens. We determined the intra-daily behavior of airborne pollen grains of grasses (Poaceae) and birch (Betula ssp.) in Central Europe, based on data obtained from a network of automatic pollen monitors over Europe (www.pollenscience.eu). Our aim was to determine the time of day when the lowest concentrations occur, to provide allergic individuals the optimal time to ventilate their homes. The study was carried out in three Central European capitals, Berlin (Germany), Paris-Saclay (France), and Luxembourg (Luxembourg), as well as in eight stations in Germany (Altötting, Feucht, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Hof, Marktheidenfeld, Mindelheim, Munich and Viechtach). The diurnal rhythm of these eleven locations was analyzed for either the complete, first week, peak week, peak day and last week of the pollen season. The data studied were reported as pollen/m3 measured in 3 h periods. Stations were classified as city, semi-populated or countryside areas using land-use and population density criteria. Grass pollen has a more pronounced diurnal rhythm than birch pollen concentrations. A significant difference was observed when comparing day (6-21 h) versus night (21-6 h) for all stations. No difference was detected between city and countryside for both pollen types, although for Poaceae a longer period of maximum concentrations was observed in big cities and higher day/night-time differences were registered in the countryside (6.4) than in cities (3.0). The highest pollen concentrations were observed between 9 and 18 h for grass, but the rhythm was less pronounced for birch pollen. For allergic individuals who want to bring in fresh air in their homes, we recommend opening windows after 21 h, but even better early in the morning between 6 and 9 h before pollinations (re)starts.

Keywords: Airborne pollen; Automatic pollen monitoring; Betula; Circadian; Intradiurnal patterns; Poaceae.

MeSH terms

  • Allergens
  • Betula
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity*
  • Poaceae*
  • Pollen
  • Seasons


  • Allergens