To ensure clean air in their homes, many people choose to purchase and use air purifiers. However, recently, the American company Neoplants has developed a “superplant” called NEO PX that has the ability to absorb air pollutants just as effectively as conventional air purifiers.

From the outside, NEO PX looks no different from an ordinary potted plant, but in reality, it can remove 30 times more pollution than a normal plant. What gives it this extraordinary ability?

At first glance, NEO PX looks no different from an ordinary potted plant (Image: neoplants.com)

Using synthetic biology (SynBio) technology in combination with molecular biology, plant physiology, and microbiology, scientists have genetically modified golden pothos plants to convert VOCs (volatile organic compounds commonly found in building materials, paints, cleaning chemicals, or air fresheners) into harmless substances.

The Neo Px superplant has the ability to fight air pollution (Image: Antoine Guilloteau)

In addition, to enhance the plant’s ability to absorb VOCs, scientists are studying the plant’s microbiome, focusing on increasing the number of beneficial fungi and bacteria. They are also using biochar to further improve the removal of pollutants. However, this is a process that requires technical complexity.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution levels are five times higher than outdoor air levels due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Moreover, poor air quality caused by VOCs is responsible for an estimated 11% of lung cancer deaths, 23% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths, and 12% of ischemic heart disease and stroke deaths (according to WHO data).

That’s why the introduction of NEO PX promises to be a bright spot for a sustainable green future.

Sources: neoplants.com, thestar.com.my

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