Airborne Starch Granules as a Potential Contamination Source at Archaeological Sites Academic Article uri icon


  • Well-known allergy literature attests to a presence of airborne starch granules from human and natural activities and illustrates that starch granules within pollen grains from starch-rich plants are released when pollen grains rupture in mid-air during thunderstorms. This study reports on starch granules extracted from Texas air samples and ruptured pollen grains from seven ethnographically important geophyte species, as well as maize (Zea mays L.). Starch granules from pollen grains are compared to those in storage organs of these plants. Results confirm that storage-like starch granules are airborne and that starch granules inside pollen can be indistinguishable from starch granules in the respective storage organs. © 2011 Society of Ethnobiology.

author list (cited authors)

  • Laurence, A. R., Thoms, A. V., Bryant, V. M., & McDonough, C.

citation count

  • 28

publication date

  • December 2011