Chemical Composition of Pollen of Parthenium hysterophorus

Gupta and Chanda (1991) worked out the chemical nature of pollen of Parthenium hysterophorus with particular reference to carbohydrate, protein, and lipid contents. The results are indicated below:

Chemical analysis of the pollen of Parthenium hysterophorus (per cent dry weight)

Total carbohydrate Total protein Total lipid

The amino acid composition of the pollen of Parthenium hysterophorus showed the presence of free amino acids like arginine, aminocaprylic acid, proline, methionine, histidine. Whereas the bound amino acids present in the pollen were glycine, alanine, valine, proline, histidine, and tyrosine.

Stanley and Linskens (1974) had stated that most of the pollen allergens are water-soluble which enhances their degree of diffusion in mucoid tissues and increases the reactive charge groups available on dissociated molecules. In order to assess allergenicity of Parthenium hysterophorus pollen, clinical investigations were carried on 160 patients attending the Allergy Clinic of the Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, India. A total of 56 patients (35%) showed a positive response to Parthenium pollen antigen. Clinically one out of six patients showed ELISA positive reaction to Parthenium. Specific IgE antibodies in the patient were estimated to be 1.35 PRU ml-1 as against 0.35 PRU ml-1 in control

Though Parthenium hysterophorus pollen were found in a very small numbers in Salt Lake City near Kolkatta, the aeropalynological survey carried out in other centres in India such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune showed much greater proportions.

Various types of air samplers have been employed by aerobiologists to assess pollen count of Parthenium hysterophorus. Some of these results have been shown in the following Table 14.1.

Table 14.1 Comparative account of samplers and respective percentage of airborne pollen of Parthenium in India.


Sampler and sampling altitude

Annual Parthenium Pollen (%)

Peak Month

Place of exposure

Bhasale (1984)

Tilak air sampler, 1.5 m




Agashe and Abraham


Vertical cylinder, 1.9 m




Bhat and Rajasab (1989)

Vertical cylinder 9 m




Agashe and Chatterjee (1987)

Nutrient Petridish and glycerine coated glass slides 8 m





Air craft sampling using glycerine coated glass slides 305 m





Air craft sampling using glycerine coated glass slides 610 m





Air craft sampling using glycerine coated glass slides 915 m




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