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Effects of electric fields on pollen rupture

journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by V Vaidyanathan, A Miguel, Philip Taylor, R Flagan, M Glovsky
RATIONALE: To determine whether the potential for previous termpollennext term fragmentation is increased during thunderstorms by exploring the previous termeffectsnext term of previous termelectricnext termprevious termfieldsnext term, with magnitude as found in the outdoor environment.

METHODS: Fresh previous termpollennext term grains were collected from bermudagrass flowers. A light microscope was modified with the addition of an previous termelectricnext termprevious termfieldnext term generated from a DC source (0-20 V) that was applied to the stage. Water was added to test for previous termpollennext termprevious termrupturenext term and to assess previous termpollennext term viability.

RESULTS: Bermuda grass previous termpollennext term did not previous termrupturenext term within 1 h of contact with water. Only after exposure to an previous termelectricnext termprevious termfieldnext term did Bermudagrass previous termpollennext term show a considerable amount of rupturing immediately upon immersion in water. The higher the voltage the previous termpollennext term is exposed to before coming into contact with water, the higher the percentage of previous termrupturenext term of the previous termpollennext term. previous termElectricnext termprevious termfieldsnext term, generated in the laboratory and of magnitude found during thunderstorms, affected the previous termpollennext term after as little as a 5 s exposure. The highest percentage of previous termrupturenext term occurred after exposures of at least 10 s: 80% previous termrupturenext term occurred after 10 s exposure at 10kVolts/m. This previous termeffectnext term is sustained for at least 15 min.

CONCLUSIONS: Thunderstorm regularly generate previous termelectricnext termprevious termfieldsnext term up to 5 kV/m in strength, and can reach 10kV/m, and cover several km in distance. The magnitude of the previous termelectricnext termprevious termfieldsnext term that affects the previous termpollennext term grains in the laboratory is low enough to be commonly found in the outdoor environment during thunderstorms. These previous termelectricnext termprevious termfields prime previous termpollen grains for more rapid release of allergenic particles.



Journal of allergy and clinical immunology






Supplement issue


Mosby, Inc.


Philadelphia, Pa.







Publication classification

C2.1 Other contribution to refereed journal

Copyright notice

2006, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

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