You know the spring has come when the flowers are blooming and tender leaves are budding — and for the millions of Americans who have springtime allergies, it means sneezing, congestion, runny nose and other signs and symptoms. In the early spring, the major culprit is wind-borne pollen from trees.
Your local pollen counting station will report the pollen count and the predominent pollen in your area. Pollen counts are collected using a special sampling device that is typically placed on a rooftop several stories above the ground. The device has a sticky surface that collects grains of pollen from the air. The pollens then transfer to microscope for counting identification.
Pollens exist in the environment in dry form. They can be wrinkled and in irregular shap. When they are exposed to water, they can be swelled and with more rounded shape. This is called hydrated form. This project we will observe pollens in both dry form and hydrated form.
What you need (everthing here can be purchased easily from your local store):
Observe Pollen at their dry form: Observe the pollen under microscope can be as easy as collecting flowers and gentally tap them off the anthers on the top of a slide. Place a slide cover over the surface and you are ready to observe. You may put a thin layer of vaseline over the slide to prevent pollens from rolling around.
Observe Pollen at their hydrated form: Sometime you may want to stain the pollen and make them more visible under microscope or simply want to seem them when they exposed to rain water. As pollens are collected from the field, you can add the mounting solution containing 50% ethanol and 50% glycerine with stain and perform a web mount – My home made mounting solution is 1 mL of hand sonitizer pluse 5 drops of QuICK Cure containing Formalin, Malachite green.
Collecting Pollens from the air: A simple way to collect the pollens from the air is the apply a very thin layer of vaseline on one side of the slide and put one the open surface a few feets above the ground. After a few hours, you can observe them in either dry form or hydrate form.