THIS PLANT CAN

CLEAN IN­DOOR AIR

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - HAVE YOU HEARD? -

Re­searchers have ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied a com­mon in­door plant — pothos ivy — to re­move pol­lu­tants in­side the house in­clud­ing chlo­ro­form and ben­zene that have been linked to can­cer, ac­cord­ing to a new study. The mod­i­fied plants ex­press a protein, called P450

2E1 or 2E1, that trans­forms these com­pounds into mol­e­cules that the plants can then use to sup­port their own growth.

“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 Stu­art Strand, pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton. The team tested how well their mod­i­fied plants could re­move the pol­lu­tants from air com­pared to nor­mal pothos ivy. They put both types of plants in glass tubes and then added either ben­zene or chlo­ro­form gas into each tube. Over 11 days, they tracked how the con­cen­tra­tion of each pol­lu­tant changed in each tube. Find­ings showed that for the un­mod­i­fied plants, the con­cen­tra­tion of either gas did not change over time. How­ever, for the mod­i­fied plants, the con­cen­tra­tion of chlo­ro­form dropped by 82 per cent af­ter three days, and it was al­most un­de­tectable by day six.

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