Scientists from University of Washington have modified a houseplant genetically. This modified plant removes benzene and chloroform from the surrounding air. The modified plant is a common called pothos ivy. The scientists use a protein strand called 2E1. This protein is present in the human body, and helps in processing alcohol. The protein is also found in mammals, including rabbits.
The scientists used a synthetic form of rabbit DNA. The plant uses this synthetic rabbit gene which secretes the protein 2E1. Pothos ivy is a plant that grows in all kinds of conditions, and was thus preferred over others. The plant is a tropical one, and does not flower in temperate zones such as Pacific Northwest.
Hazardous Particles Removed Substantially
‘Environmental Science and Technology published the experiment results. The study finds that unmodified plants could not change the gas concentration levels. But, the level of chloroform in modified plants reduced by 82% in three days. By the 8th day, benzene concentration too dropped by 75 percent. The study says that these plants need to be in an enclosed space. The space also needs to have circulated air.
The team is also working on further enhancing the capacity of the modified plants. Another hazardous molecule, formaldehyde, needs removal. The scientists are working on addition of a new protein that can do the job.
The entire experiment took place over two years, during which each factor underwent analysis. As the need to keep homes pollution free and clean rises, this solution could gain popularity.