Q:

12/7/2017
Is there a substitute for beefwood pollen extract? Greer is no longer supplying it due to a raw material shortage. The majority of my patients on immunotherapy will be affected. I have searched for other manufacturers but have not found any as of yet.
 

A:

Beefwood is also known as Australian pine in the family of Casuarinaceae and genus Causarina. There are 17 species in the genus with 3 primarily in the United States (Bucholtz). These trees were introduced as they rapidly grow and will tolerate sandy soil with salt water intrusion. They are considered an invasive species in South Florida. Cross reactivity data is sparse. Cross reactivity would be expected within the genus but not outside of Casuarinaceae family. Australian pine is not a pine tree and does not cross-react with other pines or Pinus. Rabbit antisera has confirmed the absence of cross-reactivity with pine pollen (Yoo). One of the manufacturer sells a “pine mix” that is touted to contain Australian pine but it is not clear to me that appreciable Australian pine pollen is contained in that extract.

In summary, there are no sources of other pollen extracts that would be expected to contain the allergens from beefwood or Australian pine pollen. My only suggestion would be to contact all manufacturers. I have done so and was informed that there is no available extract but maybe that will change.

1. Bucholtz GA, Hensel AE 3rd, Lockey RF, Serbousek D, Wunderlin RP. Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia) pollen as an aeroallergen. Ann Allergy 1987;59(1):52-6
2. Yoo TJ, Spitz E, McGerity JL. Conifer pollen allergy: studies of immunogenicity and cross antigenicity of conifer pollens in rabbit and man. Ann Allergy 1975;34(2):87-93.

I hope this information is of help to you and your practice.

All my best.
Dennis K. Ledford, MD, FAAAAI

Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter