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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Increasing Amb a 1 Content in Common Ragweed (Ambrosia Artemisiifolia) Pollen As a Function of Rising Atmospheric Co2 Concentration

Authors
item Singer, B - MACALESTER COLLEGE, MN
item Ziska, Lewis
item Frenz, D - MULTIDATA LLC, MN
item Gebhard, D - MULTIDATA LLC, MN
item Straka, J - MACALESTER COLLEGE, MN

Submitted to: Functional Plant Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 2005
Publication Date: July 1, 2005
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/14657
Citation: Singer, B.D., Ziska, L.H., Frenz, D.A., Gebhard, D.E., Straka, J.G. 2005. Increasing amb a 1 content in common ragweed (ambrosia artemisiifolia l.) pollen as a function of rising atmospheric co2 concentration. Functional Plant Biology. 32:667-670.

Interpretive Summary: Approximately 35 million people suffer from allergies to common ragweed. Previous studies have shown a strong growth and pollen response of ragweed to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, the principal gas associated with global warming. However, no previous studies have examined whether rising carbon dioxide alters the concentration of those proteins within ragweed pollen that cause allergies. An enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) was used to quantify Amb a 1, ragweed's major allergenic protein at different carbon dioxide concentrations. The concentrations used approximated atmospheric conditions at the end of the 19th century, current ambient, and that projected for the end of the 21st century (280, 370 and 600 parts per million carbon dioxide, respectively). Pollen grown at future [CO2] contained over 1.9 times more Amb a 1 antigen protein than pollen from plants grown under sub-ambient conditions, and approximately 1.7 times more than from plants grown at current ambient. These data suggest that recent and projected increases in atmospheric [CO2] could directly increase peoples sensitivity to ragweed pollen and consequently the prevalence and/or severity of seasonal allergic disease. However, how rising carbon dioxide interacts with other environmental factors such as temperature will need to be better understood. This information is necessary for public health officials, health researchers, weed scientists and land managers to assess the interaction between rising carbon dioxide, plant biology and human health.

Technical Abstract: Although the impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration [CO2] on production of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) pollen has been examined in both indoor and outdoor experiments, the relationship between allergen expression and [CO2] is not known. An enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) was used to quantify Amb a 1, ragweed's major allergen, in protein extracted from pollen of A. artemisiifolia grown at different [CO2]. The concentrations used approximated atmospheric conditions at the end of the 19th century, current ambient, and that projected for the end of the 21st century (280, 370 and 600 umol mol-1 CO2, respectively). Pollen grown at future [CO2] contained over 1.9 times more Amb a 1 antigen than pollen from plants grown under sub-ambient conditions, and approximately 1.7 times more than from plants grown at current ambient. These data suggest that recent and projected increases in atmospheric [CO2] could directly increase the allergenicity of ragweed pollen and consequently the prevalence and/or severity of seasonal allergic disease. Genetic and abiotic factors governing allergen expression will need to be better established to fully understand these data and their implications for public health.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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