Pollen from date palm trees are not a major cause of allergies with UAE residents, a new scientific research study reports.
Investigations showed only 2.3 per cent of the population is allergic to date palm pollens. The findings will help other scientific research on pollen characterisation, biochemistry and immunology.
“We started this project with the notion that date palm pollens are the allergens mainly responsible for allergies among UAE residents,” the study said. “But the results were contrary to that claim.”
The research team is comprised of Ahmed M. Almehdi from the department of chemistry at UAE University (UAEU), Munjed Maraqa from the department of civil engineering at UAEU and Samar Abdulkhalik from the department of serology at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain.
Subjects showed allergic hypersensitivity to different types of trees and grass pollens, according to the study. Scientists also examined 477 allergy patients and examined pollen samples of date palm farms in Al Muwaiji, Oud Al Tobba and Al Tawiya districts in Al Ain.
A seasonal variation of date palm pollens was found in the atmosphere. “Pollen concentration drops significantly in the last week of March and there are no date palm pollens in air after the first week of April,” the study said. “They are found in abundance from March 10 to 20. Thus, the general public cannot be exposed to its high pollen concentration as otherwise thought.”
Allergies are altered immune responses that are sometimes harmful to humans. Pollens, as the main antigens, cause asthma as well as immediate hypersensitivity, such as watery rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, sneezing and intense itchiness of the eyes, nose, ears and throat.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.