Plants are a source of oxygen but have you ever listened about plants cleaning harmful chemicals in the air. Scientists have modified a houseplant that is capable of cleaning the air inside the house. In short, the researchers developed an air purifier houseplant. The new research was published in Environmental Science and Technology. In the article, scientists explain how they altered a common houseplant and empowered it to clean the air around it. The scientists at the University of Washington have genetically modified a common plant – pothos ivy. The plant has the potential to remove chloroform and benzene from the surroundings.
The plant consists of a protein called as 2E1 which is commonly present in all mammals, including humans. But in human beings, it is present in liver and actively works against alcohol. Thus, it does not play any role in protecting humans from air pollution. Research head, Prof. Stuart Strand, said they decided to have this reaction outside the body. They aim to make the response possible in plants and the results are here. To achieve the goal scientists made a sample copy of the 2E1 protein in rabbits. After that, scientists inserted the same into the widely available houseplant pothos ivy. As a result, every cell of the plant transformed into a small-scale factory for 2E1. They often call it a “green liver”.
Therefore, to testify the experiment, the plants were placed in glass tubes filled with probably harmful household pollutants. They got incredible results, after knowing that chloroform disappeared within six days. In addition to this, benzene levels had decreased by three-quarters after eight days. To compare the outcomes, the researchers also repeated the process with regular plants. This time, they found no changes in the composition of gases. The researchers recommend that their plants are capable of cleaning the household air. Dr. Long Zhang, study’s lead author, said they wanted to perform this operation into pothos ivy. The reason behind selecting the plant is it is a healthy houseplant and can grow in any condition. Currently, the scientists are planning to perform additional tests to see if they can clear other chemicals.
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