A company in France has developed genetically-enhanced houseplants that remove 30 times more indoor air pollutants than your normal ficus.
Paint, treated wood, household cleaners, insulation, unseen mold—there is a shopping list of things that can fill the air you breathe in your home with VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These include formaldehyde and other airborne substances that can cause inflammation and irritation in the body.
The best way to tackle this little-discussed private health problem is by keeping good outdoor airflow into your living spaces, but in the dog days of summer or the depths of a Maine winter, that might not be possible.
Houseplants can remove these pollutants from the air, and so the company Neoplants decided to make simple alterations to these species’ genetic makeup to supercharge this cleaning ability.
In particular, houseplants’ natural ability to absorb pollutants like formaldehyde relies on them storing them as toxins to be excreted later.
French scientists and Neoplants’ co-founders Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey engineered a houseplant to convert them instead to plant matter. They also took aim at the natural microbiome of houseplants to enhance their ability to absorb and process VOCs as well.
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