Using the WIBS-4 (Waveband Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor) technique for the on-line detection of pollen grains

David J. Oconnor, David A. Healy, Stig Hellebust, Jeroen T.M. Buters, John R. Sodeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) such as pollen and fungal spores can induce allergenic responses and affect health in general. Conditions such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma have been related to pollen concentrations. Likewise some pollen have been shown to induce ice nucleation and cloud condensation at higher temperatures than those associated with some chemical species, thereby affecting planet Earth's albedo and overall radiative balance. Hence, the near real-time (on-line) monitoring of airborne pollen and other PBAP using a variety of spectroscopic and light scattering techniques represents an area of growing development and consequence. In this study, two separate field campaigns (one at a rural site in Ireland and the other at an urbanized location in Germany) were performed to detect and quantify pollen releases using a novel on-line fluorescence spectrometer (WIBS-4). The results were compared with results obtained using more traditional Hirst-type impactors. Size, "shape," and fluorescence characteristics of ambient particles were used to determine the concentrations and identity of the PBAP likely to be pollen grains. The concentration results obtained for both methodologies at both the Irish and German sites correlated very well, with R 2 values >0.9 determined for both campaigns. Furthermore, the sizing data available from the WIBS-4 approach employed in Ireland indicated that pollen grains can be identified in appropriate conditions. WIBS-4 measurements of Yew pollen both in the laboratory and at the rural site indicated almost identical size ranges of 25 to 27 μm. Yew pollen is generally reported to be in this range, but the measurements reported here are the first of their type providing data on the size of in-flight Yew pollen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Using the WIBS-4 (Waveband Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor) technique for the on-line detection of pollen grains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this