Rabbit gene helps houseplant detoxify indoor air.

Posted: Sept. 4, 2019, 7:25 p.m.

By: admin

Type: Article Category: News
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Rabbit gene helps houseplant detoxify indoor air.

A genetically modified plant may be your next air purifier for your home.


In a typical house, there are usually some pollution in the air. This includes carcinogens, compounds that could cause mutations. While those exist in small concentrations typically, in urban areas, where pollution is worse, there may be issues. The air may contain, formaldehyde, benzene and chloroform, all of which are volatile organic carcinogens. 


Those compounds may be produced during everyday tasks at home, even while cleaning, and even come from outside. House plants, can already remove some of those compounds from the air through various mechanisms, but this is very inefficient, and you would need lots of plants in a house.


A recent study, took a plant called pothos ivy and genetically modified it. They added to the plant a gene that encodes an enzyme called P450 2E1. This is an enzyme that breaks down organic compounds like the ones polluting the air in houses. The idea, is that the plant will absorb the compounds and with the help of this enzyme, dissolve them. 


This was apparently a great idea, because it worked very well. In the tests that the researchers performed, the plants were able to absorb benzene and chloroform from the air much better compared to non-modified plants. This is only one study though, and we will have to wait and see if there will be more researchers confirming those results. It looks very promising though, and i hope that those findings are accurate. 


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