Houseplants do more than just add natural beauty to your abode. They also help clean the air.
Now, researchers at the University of Washington have improved the air-cleaning properties of one common household plant, the pothos ivy (epipremnum aureum).
The team genetically modified pothos ivy to not only remove carcinogens such as chloroform and benzene from the air, but to synthesize a protein, called 2E1, that transforms these harmful compounds into molecules the plants use for their own growth.
The researchers chose pothos ivy as the plant for modification because it grows well indoors in a variety of conditions. They detail their work in a new study published this week in Environmental Science & Technology.
The scientists added benzene or chloroform gas to modified and non-modified plants in glass tubes. Over 11 days, they collected data on how each pollutant’s concentration changed.