• Clean air is becoming a luxury as humans tread towards the future.
• People have already been spending their cash on air purifiers; anti-pollution masks in several India cities have been selling like hot cakes.
• There is now a modified plant to provide clean indoor air.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED PLANT
• 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, which transforms these compounds into molecules that the plants can then use to support their own growth, according to an IANS report.
• “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,” Stuart Strand, Professor at the University of Washington, said.
• For the study, the team tested how well their modified plants could remove the pollutants from air compared to normal pothos ivy.
• IANS reported that the researchers 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, published in Environmental Science and Technology, 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.
• In addition, the concentration of benzene also decreased in the modified plant vials by about 75 per cent.
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Air Purify