House Plant That Can Scrub Contaminants From Your House

Indira Datta - Jan 01, 2019


House Plant That Can Scrub Contaminants From Your House

Washington scientists have been working on improving the environmental cleanup feature of a common household plant, called the pothos ivy (epipremnum aureum).

What is unique about plants is that it not only adds beauty to your indoor but also cleans the surrounding air. However, because our environment is increasingly dusty and polluted, the plants in your house can't afford to clean up all those dirt and harmful chemicals.

Washington scientists have been working on improving the environmental cleanup feature of a typical household plant which is known as the pothos ivy (epipremnum aureum). The research process is described in detail in this week's Environmental Science & Technology.

Researchers in Washington are improving pothos ivy so that they can remove harmful substances and pollutants from the air

Usually, this plant can remove carcinogens such as benzene and chloroform in the air. Through the work of researchers at UoW, it is now able to remove 2E1 - a protein synthesis. This protein transforms these damaging compounds and turns them into substances that help the plant grow. The pothos ivy is chosen because it is capable of living well indoors in many different conditions.

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The pothos ivy is also known as the devil's ivy

Accordingly, scientists put either chloroform gas or benzene to glass tubes with non-modified plants as well as modified plants in them. They then collected results about the level of change of each substance after 11 days.

For unmodified plants, it does not cause any significant effect on the concentration of the pollutants. On the other hand, the modified plant has a substantial impact on the amount of gas inside the tube. After only 2 to 3 days, the concentration of chloroform decreased by 82% and disappeared entirely after the 6th day. Plus, the level of benzene also impressively reduced by 75% after 8 days. This is an extremely positive result, showing the feasibility of putting into application in the real environment.

The researchers also plan to add into the pothos ivy a protein, giving it the ability to absorb another pollutant compound that often exists in the home. This toxic compound for the body is formaldehyde that is frequently found in wooden cabinets and wooden floors.

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