Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27353–27361 | Cite as

Application of a stable carbon isotope for identifying Broussonetia papyrifera pollen

  • Chien-Cheng Jung
  • Chuan-Pin Lee
  • Wen-Chi Wang
  • Ming-Chee Wu
  • Huey-Jen SuEmail author
Research Article


The objective of this study was to investigate whether δ13C values can be used to identify pollen specie in the atmosphere. A Burkard 7-day recording volumetric spore trap was used to collected pollens in the atmosphere in Tainan City, Taiwan, from January 2 to December 28, 2006, and a light microscope was used to identify the pollen species and concentrations. A Burkard cyclone sampler was used to collect particulate matter and an elemental analyzer with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer was used to analyze the δ13C values. Our data showed that the predominate pollen specie in the atmosphere was Broussonetia papyrifera pollen and that the annual average concentration was 27 grains/m3 (pollen season, 36; nonpollen season, 9 grains/m3). The average δ13C value was − 26.19‰ for particulate matter in the atmosphere (pollen season, − 26.00‰; nonpollen season, − 26.28‰). No significant association was observed between δ13C values and Broussonetia papyrifera pollen concentrations. However, the δ13C value in the atmosphere was associated with the levels of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen among the samples with a diameter of particulate matter smaller than 10 μm at a level lower than 40 μg/m3. In addition, the relative contribution of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen to the carbon in the atmosphere using a two end-member mixing models was found to be associated with the Broussonetia papyrifera pollen concentration. In summary, our study suggested that δ13C values can be applied in the assessment of Broussonetia papyrifera pollen specie under specific conditions in the atmosphere.


Pollen Broussonetia papyrifera Carbon isotope 



We would like to thank Dr. Pei-Chih Wu and Dr. Kun-Cheng Chang for their experiment supporting the identification of pollen categories.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5952_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chien-Cheng Jung
    • 1
  • Chuan-Pin Lee
    • 2
  • Wen-Chi Wang
    • 3
  • Ming-Chee Wu
    • 2
  • Huey-Jen Su
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Research Center of Environmental Trace Toxic SubstancesNational Cheng-Kung UniversityTainan CityTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesNational Cheng-Kung UniversityTainan CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Environmental and Occupational HealthNational Cheng-Kung UniversityTainan CityTaiwan

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