In a new study, researchers developed a new houseplant that could clean air at home.
The research was conducted by researchers at the University of Washington.
Previous studies have shown that some people use HEPA air filters to keep offending allergens and dust particles at bay.
However, some hazardous compounds are too small to be caught by air filters. These compounds include benzene and chloroform, which have been linked to cancer.
In the current study, the team genetically modified a common houseplant to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it.
The houseplant is pothos ivy. They chose pothos ivy because it doesn’t flower in temperate climates. This means the genetically modified plants won’t be able to spread via pollen.
Moreover, pothos ivy is a robust houseplant. It can grow well under all sort of conditions.
The new plant could express a protein, called 2E1, which transforms the harmful compounds into molecules that could be used to support the growth of the plant.
The protein 2E1 is present in all mammals, including humans. In the body, 2E1 could turn benzene into a chemical called phenol and chloroform into carbon dioxide and chloride ions.
In the study, the plant can use carbon dioxide and chloride ions to make their food. In addition, they use phenol to help make components of their cell walls.
The team tested the plant and found they put it the lab room, the concentration of chloroform dropped by 82 percent after three days and undetectable after 6 days.
The researchers suggest that in the past, people cannot do anything about the small harmful compounds in the air. But now the new plant can change it.
They suggest people should put houseplants inside an enclosure with something to move air past their leaves. If houseplants are in a corner, the effect will be small.
The senior author of the study is Stuart Strand, who is a research professor in the UW’s civil and environmental engineering department.
The lead author is Long Zhang, a research scientist in the civil and environmental engineering department.
The study is published in Environmental Science & Technology.
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Further reading: Environmental Science & Technology.