Wednesday, 03 Jun 2020

Researchers have developed plant that can cleanse the air in our home from dangerous substances


IllustrationIllustration - A group of researchers at the University of Washington have been developing ivory betel plants (Epipremnumaureum) which can cleanse air from harmful substances such as benzene, chlorophome, and formaldehyde. This can be done thanks to genetic engineering technology. Details of this study have been published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Ivory betel plants are chosen because they are flexible and can grow anywhere. "We want to do it on ivory betel plants because these plants can grow in a variety of conditions" said one researcher Long Zhang, as quoted by the University of Washington press release on Thursday, January 31st 2019.

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In laboratory tests the concentration of chlorophome in a glass filled with modified ivory betel proved to reducing the substances in the glass by 82 percent after three days. The content of benzene can be reduced to 75 percent after eight days, and for formaldehyde, researchers are still looking for ways to add the protein needed by plants to break it down.

At home, chlorophomes are known to come from purified water, benzene from vehicle fumes, and formaldehyde from cigarette smoke. "All these chemicals are very difficult to destroy. Without a protein that can break them down we need a process that consumes a lot of energy. It would be easier and environmentally friendly if making house plants which have all of the proteins" said other researcher Stuart Strand.

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