Air-purifying potted plant with gene… rabbit
Scientists have genetically modified a popular potted plant so that it can remove dangerous compounds such as chloroform and benzene from the air in our homes. The plant gained new abilities from the introduction of a gene…rabbit.
For a widely distributed potted plant, whichora can tolerate low light levels and extreme neglect, the researchers added the kr geneolika. All to make the air in our homes as clean as possible. In this wayob plant has acquired the ability to deal with dangerous compounds too small to be trapped in the filters of the purifiers of the. Researchers even got approval to sell such modified plants to purify air in homes.
According to researchers at the University of Washington, small molecules, such as chloroform or benzene, accumulate in our homes as a result of daily activities. The former is present in small amounts in chlorinated water and is released from it, if only when it is heated up. Benzene, on the other hand, whichory is a component of gasoline, it gets into the air mostly from the outside, especially if you have a house connected to a garage where a car is parkedod or lawnmower.
In search of a way to purify household air of hard-to-remove and potentially dangerous compoundsow, scientists have turned to a common houseplant – epipremnum goldenis. The plant, thanks to the introduction of the kr geneolika, is able to clean the air around it by breaking down dangerous chemicals thatore in certain concentrations can harm our health. Exposure to benzene and chloroform has been linked to the development of cancer.
– People don’t really do much mowili about these dangerous compounds in our homes. I think this is because we couldn’t do anything about them,” said Stuart Strand of UW, a cooroutor of the publication. – But we have been able to develop potted plants to remove these pollutants for us, he added.
The plant has been modified to produce a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or simply 2E1. The protein is found in all mammalsow, including in humans. In our bodies, 2E1 converts benzene into a chemical called phenol, and chloroform into carbon dioxide and chloride ions. But 2E1 is found in our livers and becomes active when we drink alcohol. Thus, it cannot eliminate harmful compoundsoin from the air, whichork we breathe.
– We decided that such a reaction should occur outside the body, preferably in a plant. This is an example of the concept „green liver”. 2E1 can be roalso beneficial to epipremnum. The plants use carbon dioxide and chloride ions as nutrients, and to produce elementaloin the walls of the comorkowe they use phenol,” explained Strand.
Scientists have introduced the kr gene into the genome of epipremnum goldenisolika, whoory encodes the 2E1 protein. This allows the plant to convert dangerous compounds into substances thatore can use. WyboThe plant’s r was no accident either. Epipremnum goldenis does not bloom at room temperature, so genetic changes will not be able to spread through pollen.
Epipremnum goldenis, photo. Jerzy Opioła/C.C.4.0/Wikimedia Commons
– The entire process took more than two years. It’s a long time, but we wanted to do just that on epipremnum. This is a robust houseplant thatora grows well under all conditions – said Long Zhang, who led the study.
Syndromeoł researchers tested the effects of their plant. The modified golden epipremnum and a version without modification were placed in glass probesowks, and then benzene and chloroform were added to them. For 11 days, they measured howob changes the concentration of each substance.
In the case of natural plants, the concentration of dangerous compoundsow ogole did not change. But for the modified versions, the concentration of chloroform dropped by 82 percent after three days. From shostego day was almost undetectable. The concentration of benzene row also declined, but much more slowly. W osmym day measurementoIn the concentration of benzene fell by about 75 percent.
To detect changes in pollution levels, scientists used much higher concentrations than those ktore usually found in homes. But they say that at lower concentrations, plants should also pass the test. However, they pointed out that the best effect would be if the plants stood in a room with free air flow. A windmill can also be installed.
Teamoł is currently working to enhance the plants’ capabilities by adding other genow. Their goal now is to develop a plant thatora can break down another dangerous molecule found in the air: formaldehyde.
– These are stable compounds and it’s really hard to get rid of them. Without proteins, whichore would break down these molecules, we would have to use high-energy processes to do soow. Much simpler and more zroThe equivalent of putting these proteins in a houseplant – marked Strand.
Sourceobackground: University of Washington, fot. Mark Stone/University of Washington