Pollen project

FP7-PEOPLE-2012 Intra-European Fellowships

Grant Agreement number: 328289
Period covered - start date: 01/09/2013
Period covered - end date: 31/08/2015
Project's coordinator: Achim Kohler
Principal researcher: Boris Zimmermann


Pollen and spores are abundant and widespread in all sorts of environments, from terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric ecosystems, all the way to urban and indoor environments. Pollen and spores are the reproductive structures (microorganisms) of plants and fungi, and thus have key function during plant and fungal life cycles. In the form of microfossils they are present in all types of soil and rock sediments, and thus their identification is vital for the reconstruction of past environments and for the understanding of the causes of environmental changes. Therefore, monitoring of these microorganisms is important for management of environment, including pollution, biodiversity and climate impact on wild and cultivated communities (including agronomy and forestry). Moreover, monitoring is vital due to their, often harmful, impact on society, by causing diseases, food spoilage and material decomposition. For example, aerollergenic pollens and spores trigger respiratory diseases in susceptible individuals that are affecting 20% of European population (with the increased prevalence), causing multibillion costs of medical treatments and reduced work productivity. For the last century, palynology (the science of pollen and spores) has been limited by laborious, slow and costly methods.

Outdoor and indoor studies on plants.

Outdoor and indoor studies on plants.

Boris Zimmermann

POLLEN project has developed and standardised vibrational spectroscopy for identification and biochemical characterization of plant pollen. In addition to analysis of pollen, the project has established the same methodologies in analyses of plant and fungal spores. The original methodologies developed in the project have enabled objective identification and comprehensive characterisation of pollen and spores. A novel spectroscopy-based approach for screening, monitoring and analysis of these microorganisms has the potential to expand current knowledge and research, and to advance industrial and social applications by providing new insights on plants and fungi. By implementing spectroscopy-based approach, POLLEN project has created a paradigm shift that will advance palynology into new scientific and applied fields.



Diehn S., Zimmermann S., Tafintseva V., Seifert S., Bagcioglu M., Ohlson M., Weidner S., Fjellheim S., Kohler A., Kneipp J.
Combining chemical information from grass pollen in multimodal characterization.
Frontiers in Plant Science 10 (2020) 1788

Diehn S., Zimmermann B., Bağcıoğlu M., Seifert S., Kohler A., Ohlson M., Fjellheim S., Weidner S., Kneipp J. 
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) shows adaptation of grass pollen composition.
Scientific Reports 8 (2018) 16591.

Zimmermann B. 
Chemical characterization and identification of Pinaceae pollen by infrared microspectroscopy.
Planta 247 (2018) 171.

Bağcıoğlu M., Kohler A., Seifert S., Kneipp J., Zimmermann B. 
Monitoring of plant-environment interactions by high throughput FTIR spectroscopy of pollen.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8 (2017) 870-880

Zimmermann B., Bağcıoğlu M., Tafinstseva V., Kohler A., Ohlson M., Fjellheim S.
A high-throughput FTIR spectroscopy approach to assess adaptive variation in pollen quality.
Ecology and Evolution 7 (2017) 10839.

Zimmermann B., Tafintseva V, Bağcıoğlu M., Høegh Berdahl M., Kohler A.
Analysis of allergenic pollen by FTIR microspectroscopy.
Analytical Chemistry 88 (2016) 803-811

Bağcıoğlu M., Zimmermann B., Kohler A. 
A multiscale vibrational spectroscopic approach for identification and biochemical characterization of pollen.
PLOS One 10 (2015) e0137899

Zimmermann B., Bağcıoğlu M., Sandt C., Kohler A.
Vibrational microspectroscopy enables chemical characterization of single pollen grains as well as comparative analysis of plant species based on pollen ultrastructure.
Planta 242 (2015) 1237-1250

Zimmermann B., Tkalčec Z., Mešić A., Kohler A. 
Characterizing aeroallergens by infrared spectroscopy of fungal spores and pollen.
PLOS One 10 (2015) e0124240

Lukacs R., Blümel R., Zimmermann B., Bağcıoğlu M., Kohler A. 
Recovery of absorbance spectra of micrometer-sized biological and inanimate particles.
Analyst 140 (2015) 3273-3284

Published 15. February 2016 - 18:43 - Updated 11. March 2020 - 14:25