Plants and trees are known to have various health benefits, but now, scientists have genetically modified a common houseplant - pothos ivy, to remove pollutants inside the house including chloroform and benzene. These pollutants have also been known to cause cancer. “People have not really been talking about these hazardous organic compounds in homes, and I think that is because we could not do anything about them,” said a researcher.
The plants use a protein called P450 2E1 or 2E1 that successfully transforms these harmful compounds into energy which the plants can use to grow. The researchers wanted to compare how well their plants fared against pothos ivy. So they took both the plants and placed them in glass containers. Then, they added harmful compounds like chloroform and benzene in each container. They tracked the plants for eleven days and found that while in the pothos ivy container, there was no difference in the air and compound levels, in the modified plant container, the concentration of chloroform dropped by 82% after three days and the concentration of benzene also decreased by 75%.
“If you had a plant growing in the corner of a room, it will have some effect in that room. But without air flow, it will take a long time for a molecule on the other end of the house to reach the plant,” the researcher added. Well, now you have all the more reason to invest in a houseplant so go get one STAT. Stay tuned for more updates.