OP3 - Fully Automated Pollen Analysis and Counting: The Pollen Monitor BAA500

SENSOR+TEST Conferences 2009
2009-05-26 - 2009-05-28
Congress Center Nürnberg
Proceedings OPTO 2009 & IRS² 2009
OPTO Poster Session
U. Heimann, J. Haus - Helmut Hund GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany, D. Zuehlke - Fraunhofer Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT, Sankt Augustin, Germany
125 - 128


Pollen allergies have become a wide-spread disease. Every year, during the bloom of many plants, about 12 million citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany (every seventh person!) suffer from acute symptoms that reach from allergic rhinitis to life-threatening anaphylactic shocks. For their daily routine, allergic persons strongly depend on up-to-date information on pollen counts in their area, e. g. to adjust their daily medications.
These allergies are caused by airborne pollen, and the state-of-the-art technique for counting the various pollen taxa is the so-called Burkhard trap. These traps suck ambient air onto a piece of adhesive tape where pollen and other aerosole particles are deposited. This tape will eventually be analyzed by human operators under a light microscope. This kind of analysis requires a high degree of experience and concentration, which - due to the ubiquitous human factor - cannot always be guaranteed. Some pollen taxa differ from their sizes alone, which cover a range between about 10 µm to 150 µm, others can only be discriminated by judging minute details. As this is a time-consuming analysis, the daily pollen count will thus rely on data from the previous day.
This work describes the pollen monitoring system BAA500, realized by the Helmut Hund GmbH, Wetzlar in cooperation with the Fraunhofer institute for Applied information Technology (FIT), Sankt Augustin, ant with the Fraunhofer institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), Hannover.
Equipped with an automated pollen deposition and handling system and with an automated microscope in combination with an image analysis system, the BAA500 is capable of determining and counting six allergologically relevant pollen taxa and seven taxa that have no allergological impact.