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AIS logoUNIPI Team Leader: Prof. Gianni Bedini, Dipartimento di Biologia


The most important biological component of ambient air is pollen, and its allergen is the main cause of airborne allergic respiratory diseases. Reasons for the increase in allergic responses to pollen allergen exposure are elusive, but environmental and lifestyle factors appear to drive the trend.

In Europe, emissions of many air pollutants have decreased over past decades, resulting in some improved air quality. Nevertheless, this does not always produce a corresponding drop in atmospheric concentrations; especially for particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3), which have significant impact on human health. A growing body of evidence shows that chemical air pollutants and anthropogenic aerosols can alter the impact of allergenic pollen and that pollen production rises in higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Changes in the plant flowering season due to climate change will probably mean an increase in the duration and severity of the pollen season, alongside a higher frequency of episodes of urban air pollution.These elements indicate that environmental factors involved in exacerbations of allergic respiratory diseases will have a more pronounced effect in coming decades.

The overall objective of the AIS LIFE project is to develop an information base, in order to enable policy-makers dealing with environment and health issues to better manage pollen-related allergic respiratory diseases. The project’s specific objectives are:

  • To improve pollen-related allergic respiratory disease management in the general population, through the permanent implementation of AIS in three European countries, contributing to disease control, improved quality of life and direct/indirect reductions in health system costs;
  • To assess exposure to pollen at the general population level, by considering pollen and allergen quantities and their interaction with PM pollution;
  • To provide a comprehensive evaluation of the use and effectiveness of AIS in different contexts, in terms of environmental, social and economic impact (including potential reduction of socio-economic costs of respiratory allergies in Europe);
  • To increase awareness among target groups identified across Europe to the importance of integrated information on aerobiological, chemical and clinical forecasts for health improvement among people suffering from pollen allergies; and
  • To increase awareness of possible changes in lifestyle and preventative measures among sufferers of pollen-related allergic respiratory diseases, through the use of AIS and related educational initiatives.



Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy


  • MUW(Medizinische Universitaet Wien), Austria
  • UNIPI(University of Pisa – Department of Biology), Italy
  • RNSA(Reseau National de Surveillance Aerobiologique), France UPMC(Université Pierre et Marie Curie), France
  • IFC-CNR(Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), Italy

Start date: 01/06/2014

End date: 31/05/2017

Project cost: 1.536.084 €

EU Contribution: 763,595 €

UNIPI role: partner

Project website:


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