Scientists Have Genetically Modified this Common Houseplant to Improve Air Quality
Plants can already do a lot of things, from improving your health to repelling bugs, just to name a few of their inherent superpowers. But now, thanks to a team of dedicated scientists, they can clean also the air around you.
Science Daily reports that these new genetically engineered houseplants are the result of a two-year process undertaken by a team of researchers at the University of Washington to create pothos ivy plants able to remove chloroform and benzene from the air.
They published the findings, which could one day be used to increase the air quality in our homes, in Environmental Science & Technology.
"People haven't really been talking about these hazardous organic compounds in homes, and I think that's because we couldn't do anything about them," senior author Stuart Strand explained to Science Daily. "Now we've engineered houseplants to remove these pollutants for us."
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Without getting too scientific, the team essentially edited the genetic makeup of the pothos plant to include 2E1, a protein called that is present in all mammals. In humans, 2E1 can be found in the human liver where it is used to process alcohol.
"We decided we should have this reaction occur outside of the body in a plant, an example of the 'green liver' concept," Strand continued. "And 2E1 can be beneficial for the plant, too."
What will they think of next?