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Want cleaner air in your home? Researchers modify common houseplant to remove toxins from your rooms

A houseplant has been modified by scientists to clean the air inside the house of hazardous particles. Air filters do not keep smaller molecules, including chloroform and benzene, which have both been linked to cancer at bay. Pothos ivy was edited in the laboratory to have the power to remove these molecules in the air and use them as food to grow. When the plants were put in a glass tube filled with polluted air, the concentrations dropped significantly over the next few days, being almost undetectable. However, the team at the University of Washington said a good flow of air was A houseplant, pothos ivy, has been modified by scientists at the University of Washington. Washington to clean the air inside the house of hazardous particles not controlled by air filters Researchers tested the modified ivy's ability to remove pollutants in the air compared to normal ivy. Concentrations in the glass tubes with the modified ivy dropped significantly over the next few days, being almost undetectable Dr. Long Zhang, pictured In the lab, who is a research scientist in the civil and environmental engineering department, said they used pothos ivy as it is a robust plant Chloroform er til stede i små mængder i chloreret vand og benzen, som er en komponent af benzin , and therefore from exhaust fumes, can build up in homes when people shower or boil water. Study senior author Professor Stuart Strand said: 'People have not really been talking about these hazardous organic compo…

A houseplant has been modified by scientists to clean the air inside the house of hazardous particles.

Air filters do not keep smaller molecules, including chloroform and benzene, which have both been linked to cancer at bay.

Pothos ivy was edited in the laboratory to have the power to remove these molecules in the air and use them as food to grow.

When the plants were put in a glass tube filled with polluted air, the concentrations dropped significantly over the next few days, being almost undetectable.

However, the team at the University of Washington said a good flow of air was

A houseplant, pothos ivy, has been modified by scientists at the University of Washington. Washington to clean the air inside the house of hazardous particles not controlled by air filters

 Researchers tested the modified ivy's ability to remove pollutants in the air compared to normal ivy. Concentrations in the glass tubes with the modified ivy dropped significantly over the next few days, being almost undetectable.

Researchers tested the modified ivy’s ability to remove pollutants in the air compared to normal ivy. Concentrations in the glass tubes with the modified ivy dropped significantly over the next few days, being almost undetectable

 Dr Long Zhang, pictured in the lab, who is a research scientist in the civil and environmental engineering department, said they used pothos ivy as it is a robust plant

Dr. Long Zhang, pictured In the lab, who is a research scientist in the civil and environmental engineering department, said they used pothos ivy as it is a robust plant

Chloroform er til stede i små mængder i chloreret vand og benzen, som er en komponent af benzin , and therefore from exhaust fumes, can build up in homes when people shower or boil water.

Study senior author Professor Stuart Strand said: ‘People have not really been talking about these hazardous organic compo unds in homes, and I think that’s because we could not do anything about them.

‘Now we’ve engineered houseplants to remove these pollutants for us.’

The team modified the plants to express a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or 2E1 for short, which can be found in the human liver.

Professor Strand said: ‘We decided we should have this reaction occur outside the body in a plant, an example of the’ green liver ‘concept.

‘ And 2E1 can also be beneficial to the plant. Plants use carbon dioxide and chloride ions to make their food and they use phenol to help make components of their cell walls. ‘

The researchers made a synthetic version of the gene and introduced it into pothos ivy – which the team used for its

Study lead author Dr. Long Zhang said: ‘We wanted to do this in pothos because it’s a robust houseplant that grows well under all kinds of conditions.’

The plant does not Flower in temperate climates so the genetically modified plants would not be able to spread via pollen.

The work took more than two years. Dr. Zhang said, “That is a long time, compared to other lab plants, which could only take a few months.”

 Plants in the home would need to be inside an enclosure with something to move air past their leaves, such as a fan, according to the study senior author, Professor Stuart Strand

Plants in the home would need to be inside an enclosure with something to move air past their leaves, such as a fan, according to the study senior author, Professor Stuart Strand

 The researchers modified the plants to express a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or 2E1 for short, allowing it to use the compounds in the a ir as food for growth

The researchers modified the plants to express a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or 2E1 for short, allowing it to use the compounds in the air as food for growth

HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE AIR QUALITY IN THE HOME?

Emma Hammett, a qualified nurse, revealed the best ways to reduce air pollution:

  • Keep all areas clean and dry as possible. Open windows for 5-10 minutes daily.
  • When showering, use an extractor fan to remove moisture from the air. Or open a window. Keep the door shut to the spread of steam air.
  • In humid kitchens or damp bathrooms keep surfaces clean. Surfaces with soap scum or grease can be fertile breeding grounds for mold spores.
  • In the kitchen, keep an eye out for mold in refrigerator drip pans, washing machine by seals and dustbins.
  • When cooking using an extractor fan or open a window. Keep lids on saucepans when cooking.
  • Wipe down wet windowsills to remove condensation. Condensation can lead to mold and fungi to grow.
  • Deal with any mold in the home. Check for and rectify any water leaks in bathrooms, kitchens and the hot water tank.
  • Check your flues are working well and get your chimney swept regularly to allow smoke and pollution particles to leave the room.
  • Keep the room temperature in the home stable. The recommended temperature is 18 degrees. High humidity can keep the air moist, providing perfect conditions for mold to thrive.
  • If you have a long-term lung issue, consider investing in an indoor air quality sensor. This will tell you the air temperature, relative humidity, the levels of pollutants, dust particles and carbon monoxide.

Source: First Aid For Life

The researchers then tested the modified plants ability to remove pollutants from air compared to normal pothos ivy.

They put both types of plants into glass tubes and then added either benzene or chloroform gas into each tube.

About 11 days, the team tracked how the concentration of each pollutant changed in each tube.

For the unmodified plants, the concentration of either gas did not change over time.

But for the modified plants, the concentration of chloroform dropped by 82 percent after three days, and it was almost undetectable by day six.

The concentration of benzene also decreased in the modified plant vials, but more slowly.

By day eight, The benzene concentration had dropped by about 75 percent, the findings published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, said.

In order to detect these changes in pollutant levels, the researchers used much higher pollutant concentration

Plants in the home would also need to be inside an enclosure with something.

But the team expects that the home levels would drop similarly, if not faster, over the same time frame.

He said: “If you had a plant growing in the corner of a room, it will have some effect in that room.

‘ Men uten luftstrøm, vil det ta en lang tid for et molekyl på den andre siden av huset til nå planten. ‘

The team is now working to improve the plants’ capacity by adding a protein that can break down another hazardous molecule found in home air formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde, which is present in some wood products as well as tobacco smoke, was first classified as a probable human carcinogen in 1987 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Professor Strand said: ‘These are all stable compounds, so it’s really hard to get rid of them.

‘Without proteins to break down these molecules, we would have to use high-energy processes to do it.

‘It’s so much easier and more sustainable to put these proteins all together in a houseplant.’

Chloroform is a coluorless liquid with a pleasant odor and a slightly sweet taste, which was used as an inhaled anesthetic during surgery in the past.

Benzene is a natural part of crude oil and gasoline, cigarette smoke and forest fires. It is widely used in products such as plastic and synthetic fibers.

It is a known carcinogenic, and can also affect the blood, immune and nervous system.


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