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Allergy. 2006 Apr;61(4):498-502.

Brassica oleracea pollen, a new source of occupational allergens.

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Department of Dermatology/Allergology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Vegetable pollen is a rare source of occupational allergens. Occupational allergy has only been described in the case of paprika pollen and tomato pollen. We describe a new source of occupational pollen allergy.


To study the incidence and the impact of broccoli and cauliflower pollen allergy in employees involved in classical plant breeding.


Fifty-four employees of five companies working with cauliflower (Brassica oleracea botrytis) and broccoli (B. oleracea italica/cymosa) pollen were eligible for complete evaluation. Allergy to cauliflower and broccoli pollen was evaluated by questionnaire and determination of sensitization by radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and skin-prick tests (SPT). SPT and RAST were performed with a panel of commercial and homemade extracts from cauliflower and broccoli pollen.


Work-related symptoms such as rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma and urticaria caused by B. oleracea pollen were reported by 44% of the participants (24/54), of whom all but one had positive SPT for cauliflower- and/or broccoli-pollen/flower extracts and 58% (14/24) had positive RAST results. Symptoms had developed within the first 2 years in 33% of the patients. Six patients had to stop or change work.


Brassica oleracea pollen is a new source of occupational allergen with strong allergenic potential leading to symptoms in almost half of the exposed employees.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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