Researchers develop GM houseplants to clean air

Researchers at the University of Washington have genetically modified pothos ivy — a common houseplant — to help clean the air inside homes. Hazardous compounds such as chloroform and benzene build up in homes, and exposure to both compounds have been linked to cancer.

The modified photos ivy removes chloroform and benzene from the air around it. The plants express a protein called cytochrome P450 2E1, or 2E1, that transforms these compounds into molecules that the plants can then use to support their own growth. The team published its findings in Environmental Science & Technology.

The researchers introduced a synthetic version of the gene 2E1 into pothos ivy so that each cell in the plant expressed the protein. Тhe resulting GM- plant has sufficient detoxifying activity against benzene and chloroform. Pothos ivy doesn’t flower in temperate climates so the GM plants will not spread via pollen.

Zhang et al. 2019 Greatly enhanced removal of volatile organic carcinogens by a genetically modified houseplant, pothos Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) expressing the mammalian Cytochrome P450 2e1 Gene. Environ. Sci. Technol., 53, 1, 325-331.

Source: Crop Biotech Update

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