December 19, 2018
Whether you're already using houseplants to clean the air in your home, or if you call upon electronic air purifiers, lend us your ear. University of Washington researchers have genetically engineered pothos ivy — a common houseplant – to eliminate two carcinogens – chloroform and benzene – from the air.
Science Daily reported:
But some hazardous compounds are too small to be trapped in these filters. Small molecules like chloroform, which is present in small amounts in chlorinated water, or benzene, which is a component of gasoline, build up in our homes when we shower or boil water, or when we store cars or lawn mowers in attached garages.
The modified plants express a protein, called 2E1, that transforms these compounds into molecules that the plants can then use to support their own growth.
2E1 is present in all mammals, including humans.
The results were published in Environmental Science and Technology
The researchers are attempting to increase the plants' capabilities by adding a protein that can break down another hazard found in home air, formaldehyde, a colorless, strong-smelling gas used in making building materials and many household products.
Unfortunately, these super-plants are not commercially available yet. But you can check out this list of the best air-cleaning house plants to get the ball rolling.