INTERIOR LANDSCAPE PLANTS FOR INDOOR AIR POLLUTION ABATEMENT
supported Utilization (ALCA).
Programs--Technology Contractors of America
and the Associated
Aeronautics John and Space
and Space Space MS Technology Center,
Administration Center Laboratory 39529-6000
................................. Air Filter System ... Removal inside carbon 4............................................... Selective Detector
Trichloroethylene Formaldehyde Materials Gas and
Microbiological Activated Results Summary
......................................... of benzene and trichloroethylene pothos from the air
of low concentrations experimental filter
in an 8-in..........!K 't............... EDING
air purification interaction
system ...... ................................. FIGURES
Carbon-Houseplant and Discussion
.................... 2 3 3 5 5 6 for Trace Metabolites ......................................... 2....... and
microorganisms........................................ Removal inside carbon
... 3........................ Chemicals and Acronyms .... .................................
with his environment--plants........................................................... .....
carbon....... _............"_':" FILMED
... Abbreviations Introduction A Promising................ Economical Used In The Solution Plant to Indoor
Tests .... v 1 Air Pollution ..°°
system ... of benzene using and golden trichloroethylene pothos from the air
of high concentrations experimental filter
in an 8-in..................................... .. 8 8 8 9 18 18 19
by Houseplants Period a Sealed Period from
a 24-h Exposure Removed from
Trichloroethylene Houseplants Benzene Removing
Removal a 24-h from
a 24-h Exposure
a 24-h Exposure from
................................. Experimental Chamber
...... Chamber by ....
.. Evergreen in a Sealed Plant
a Sealed Soil and
Experimental the Same 24-h Counts
in Potting All Plant
Soil after Periods 14
Houseplants Formaldehyde Houseplants
Exposure a Sealed
Soil Bacterial for Several
of a Chinese to Benzene
. Chamber by 10 by 11 Chamber 12 by Houseplants 12 Chamber by 13
.TABLES Trichloroethylene Houseplants Benzene Removed from a Sealed Experimental Chamber by
a 24-h Exposure from a Sealed
..... a Sealed Experimental
ALCA EPA GC HP NASA PCA TCE UF UFFI cfu/g cm cm 2 g h in. m mE min m3 p/m
Definition Associated Environmental gas chromatograph Hewlett-Packard National plate Aeronautics agar and Space Administration Landscape Contractors Agency of America
trichlorethylene urea formaldehyde urea-formaldehyde colony forming foam units insulation
centimeter square gram hour inch meter milliliter minute cubic parts second year microliter degrees Celsius meter per million centimeter
yr /zL °C
when a large number of time.
However. On the other hand.
how can the problem
. Hospital the highest near that levels in of
of indoor England. respiratory and sinus congestion. and reactive years. Tony
affect inhabitants of the which Wythenshawe contained
of these buildings." of all new of this type
that approximately air pollution.
have been reported in the United nations of the western world. and of buildings building synthetic
air pollution has studied in naturally
have been studied and documented sick building ventilated syndrome extensively
by many investigators and has learned are found The results
of microorganisms. symptoms ten
byproducts Dr. such as itchy eyes.
States and Canada
as well as in most other highly developed
Two major problems with indoor air pollution are the identification of the trace chemicals and their correlation with diseaselike symptoms. and spiraling energy crunch was being designed fresh felt at both the gas pump to maximize changes that energy improved and
were being reduced
efficiency energy upon the
Two of the design
air exchange. his analyses indicate that it is unlikely to microorganisms. should be considered ventilated in a confined another
health problems headaches. environmental threat scientists to human and government agencies agree that symptoms associated can be attributed Now pollution that most
with sick building
is a realistic
health. which are known to emit or "off-gas" linked to numerous health complaints. skin rashes. which some interact with each other. for an extended
living in a closed. when the energy costs. other allergy-related symptoms. various equipment of the the airtight Similarly.INTERIOR INDOOR
LANDSCAPE AIR POLLUTION
occupation of these buildings.PLANTS
INTRODUCTION During in heating to help efficiency the late alleviate included 1970s. Energy-efficient buildings that are filled with modern possibly furnishings and high-tech equipment off-gas hundreds of volatile organics limits. buildings costs. contributed significantly
the workers began to complain of various drowsiness. the highest levels of symptoms mechanically ventilated buildings containing low levels of microorganisms.(1-27) Even at concentrations may adversely Pickering buildings below present detection
of these chemicals The problems over the past Manchester. It was determined workers' health that problems.
place such as an airplane to a phenomenon estimated of indoor
All of these factors collectively One world or remodeled health organization buildings
called "sick building 30 percent Problems
syndrome. have been and furnishings placed in these types of materials used in their
air pollution. The office buildings manufacture Man himself of people are also a contributing factor because and design.
of sealing people for NASA
eventually converting all of these that the decayed radon products are currently Oak Ridge of Energy
in the plant tissue. Experiments at the Department
As NASA base. and other industrial air pollutants. chemicals and their associated microorganisms. on Earth himself depends in tightly upon sealed a life support buildings away system it should from involving be obvious this ecological organic would an intricate that when system. The National indoor Although air pollution a final space problems solution NASA structures.(30) Only recently. In this study evaluated of using plant only indoor the leaves.(28-29) Since man's relationship he attempts problems existence with plants to isolate will arise.
environments. organic solvents. The answer to these
own waste products
problems he must
is obvious. associated
chemicals. air pollutants into new plant tissue. take along
If man nature's
is to move life support NASA
into closed system. associated to the trace does screen
identified ago. Although maintaining the balance of the complete cycle involves treating and recycling sewage. and the organic chemicals. radon then is based on smoke. Siberia.
all new materials
are to be used in future
Another promising approach to further reducing trace levels of air pollutants inside future space habitats is the use of higher plants and their associated soil microorganisms. bacteria. ECONOMICAL TO INDOOR AIR POLLUTION
The first and most obvious step in reducing from building materials and furnishings before Aeronautics with sealed contamination for off-gassing Space Administration space habitats over problems (NASA) 16 years that
indoor air pollution is to reduce off-gassing they are allowed to be installed.
a novel approach such as
cigarette smoke. pathogenic Plant which evolved of contaminated roots and air through their
has been designed from this work. Stennis
pathogenic viruses. Professor
has been attempting of the USSR
for over 15 years. here. however. have critical parts of this complex puzzle begun to come together.
or in space. and associated indoor high concentrations
as a possible
air pollutants. and possibly radon This air filter design combines plants with an activated The rationale moving organic by the large carbon for this design. treatment carbon and possibly microorganisms studies. puzzle
This is not easily and his team
in these sealed environments
has not been found.
with large numbers
of plants the ecology of such a closed environment 2
. carbon filter as shown in Figure 1. of hundreds
off-gassing into tightly air pollution problems.A PROMISING.(31"37) It is believed would be taken being conducted National up by the plant roots and retained to test this hypothesis in Oak Ridge. the are absorbed destroy bed where
from wastewater (if present).
of scientists and engineers have also been working with closed ecological systems for many years in Krasnoyarsk. of indoor of plants air pollutants have been ecological water and
soil. however. microorganisms Additionally. volumes filter. means systems air is addressed roots. along
a Space Station. Tennessee. to solve
on Earth achieved. toxic chemicals.
As plant studies continue at Stennis Space identifying trace chemical contamination.
carbon. plants... used solvent and is also present In addition... POTTING SOIL MOTOR
SQUIRREL CAGE FAN (15-30 CFM)
Figure 1.) must
houseplants be further
and activated evaluated... to irritate cell
has long been known to bacterial
the skin and eyes. Furthermore and has shown
in some tests. 2. Benzene to be
system combining soil. is a very commonly inks.. dyes. etc. and has gone a long way toward reminding man of his dependence on plants for his continued existence and well-being on our planet.. Landscape Contractors of America
and the Associated on the potential
use of houseplants
as a tool in solving
indoor air pollution problems on Earth. emphasis is being placed not only on but also on identifying any volatile organic themselves..
CARBON . paints explosives. it has been shown activity and factor and in many basic items including USED IN THE PLANT SCREENING TESTS
and rubber. Evidence
also exists that benzene
may be a contributing
it is used in the manufacture
of detergents. ..GOLDEN
microorganisms.. Indoor air purification between man.... metabolites This joint (ALCA) that effort may be off-gassed between NASA of data by plants
Center. oils. CHEMICALS Benzene Benzene gasoline..
to cause dizziness. weakness. liver and kidney damage. drowsiness. include urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) and particle board or pressed-wood products. facial tissues. nervousness. the National
that an unusually
TCE by gastric
Trichloroethylene Trichloroethylene Over 90 percent industries. and permanent-press and cooking clothes. It is a highly that combines with protein and can cause allergic contact dermatitis. of industrial and and adhesives. UF resins are used as stiffeners. In
but it is also used in printing Institute was observed a potent in micegiven
major sources. paralysis. include cigarette smoke and heating fuels such as natural gas and
Formaldehyde reactive chemical of the upper disease Protection is strongly homes. waxed papers.
with benzene nausea.
and leukemia blistering. paints. and paper towels. low levels and loss of appetite. including grocery bags. nose. Many common household cleaning agents contain formaldehyde. and unconsciousness. fire retardants. and dermatitis.to chromosomal causes benzene drying. The (TCE) of the Cancer is a commercial produced reported product with a wide variety metal degreasing varnishes. respiratory diseases.
aberrations inflammation. In animal tests. are treated with ureaformaldehyde (UF) resins. blurred
of high levels of
has been reported
skin contact inhalation headache. anemia Chronic exposure to even relatively disease. The symptoms tract from exposure exposure conducted to high levels of this chemical Until recently. and bone psychological marrow disturbances.(2. in long-term include irritation the most serious and eyes and headaches.
Repeated Acute euphoria. and adhesive binders in floor covering.
1975. which have been reported and publicized. of the blood and lymphatic system.
irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes. water repellants. high incidence lacquers. Consumer paper products. tremors.3) research
most widely reported attributed Agency suspected
to formaldehyde has recently of causing
the Environmental that formaldehyde occupants of mobile
a rare type of throat
. wrinkle resisters. was asthma. inhalation of benzene led to cataract formation and diseases causes diseases of the blood headaches. systems. carpet backing. Other sources of formaldehyde kerosene. of hepatocellular considers uses. carcinomas this chemical Formaldehyde Formaldehyde is a ubiquitous chemical found in virtually all indoor environments. cancer However.
in humans. and throat. irregular heartbeat.
Bolts and wing-nuts ensured complete sealing of the lids and created airtight chambers for testing.MATERIALS The
METHODS plants Name were screened: Scientific Name
Bamboo Chinese English Ficus
palm evergreen ivy
Chamaedorea seifritzii Aglaonema modestum Hedera helix Ficus benjamina Gerbera jamesonii Dracaena deremensis Dracaena marginata Dracaena massangeana Sansevieria laurentii
Gerbera daisy Janet Craig Marginata Mass cane/Corn Mother-in-law's Peace lily Pot mum Warneckei All plants original a healthy Chemical constructed tested
Spathiphyllum "'Mauna Loa'" Chrysanthemum morifolium Dracaena deremensis "'Warneckei'" from nurseries Miracle-Gro in our local area. fertilizer They were kept in their and were maintained in
pots and potting between condition
soil. each 0. The chambers also contained two small removable ports. Constant illumination was provided during the testing from a bank of Damar Gro-lights that encircled the outside of each chamber.) in diameter. the equivalent
(in.5) conducted in four Plexiglas chambers.76 (30) 0.76 (30) Height* 0. A small fan was used to circulate air within each chamber. Stern's
from the nursery. This cooling coil prevented the Gro-lights from causing excessive heat buildup inside the chambers and minimized any fogging from plant respiration in the chambers. just as they were received tests.
in a greenhouse
was used to keep the plants
for the project.53 (60.76 (30)
The tops of the small chambers and side sections of the large chambers were removed to allow entry.6 cm (1/4 in.76 (30) 1.
. which were
contamination to the following
0. through which contaminants could be introduced and air samples could be obtained.76 (30)
0. Mounted on the inside of each chamber has a coil of copper tubing through which water at a temperature of 7 °C was circulated. tests were dimensions: Width* Depth* 0.
is given in meters
(m).) is given in parentheses.
Samplingwasdonewith a Sensidyne-Gastec samplingpumpandgasdetectortubes air specificfor benzene concentrationsangingbetween and100p/m. Experimental for testing included sealing selected a plant in the Plexiglas chamber. The time necessary in the two chambers was determined 120 s for the large chamber.exceptthat the indicatingreagentn the Gastec i tubeswasspecificfor TCE.andcollecting b airsamples immediately followingchemical introduction. two chambers of similar size were used. The levelsof TCE that could be detected rangedfrom 1 to 25 p/m.it wasnecessary utilizea differentmethod introduce to to thischemical into thetestchambers.a 200-mL r 1 volume air fromthechamber asdrawnthrougha Gastecube. For the low-concentration benzene-TCE studies. 24 h later.wereconducted periodicallythroughoutthe study.868 and 0. for a 30-min period to withdraw into the chambers The sample before the initial using a I-#L sampling. at 6 h and. heseconw T trol testswereconducted usingpotsof the samesizecontainingthe samepottingsoil as by the pottedplantsused actualtesting. Introductionandsamplingof TCE wasperformedin a similar manner. Because formaldehyde a water-solublehemicalandis routinelysupplied is c asa 37.injectingoneof the threechemicals the chambern the into i methoddescribed elow. In sampling.All tests wereconducted a periodof 24h. having volumes of 0. to both an air pump through and to the chamber the formaldehyde sample inlet using pieces of Air was bubbled solution and introduced into the
chamber as a gas._:mall metal trayattached the chamber alljust belowtheintroductionport andallowedto evaporate to w with the helpof the fan insidethe chamber. The
which Tygon was attached tubing.9percentsolutionin water. finally. Benzene testingat high concentrations asperformedby introducing35#L of benzene w into thechamberusinga 50#L microsyringe.sealed chamber. benzene detection Because range Sampling
to achieve the desired concentrations of formaldehyde experimentally to be 50 s for the small chamber and was performed air pump tubes in the same manner as that used for tubes. soil controlswithout plantsweretestedto determineif the potting soil and associated microorganisms ereeffectivein removingthe different chemicals. The and formaldehyde-specific was 2 to 20 p/m.Experimental in procedure thenfollowedthesameorder asdescribed above. Benzene volume and TCE were introduced of benzene and TCE. formaldehyde solution was placed into a gas scrubber apparatus. In addition. volume of an tissue mixture was injected onto a Kimwipe Sampling a glass tube
the air pump
200 mL of air through 7
.694 equal formed m 3.Detection a colorchange of w t of in the benzene-specific indicatorreagent resentin the tubemeasured concentration p the of benzene.
a gas chromatographic
analysis of benzene and TCE simultaneously in single sample. Leak testcontrols. he benzene T wasinjectedonto a . enough for testing less than
and TCE using a Sensidyne-Gastec of the formaldehyde-specific equipment
was not sensitive method
1 p/m concentrations. periodof 30min wasallowedfor complete A evaporation the benzene of prior to withdrawingthe initial sample.whereinthe samechemicals were injectedinto an empty.
1-g samples of soil were taken from
surface and subsurface regions (approximately analyzed by means of the pour plate technique
10 cm in depth). Plate count agar (PCA) was utilized microbiological medium. Samples were subsequently to determine the number of "colony forming as the primary
units" per gram of sample (cfu/g).) 500-mL outside
air samples diameter Trace Restek
from the chambers with Tenax were desorbed column. these microorganisms plate count until three to five days of incubation and fungal dextrose Sabouraud's of biochemical
data were recorded.
onto 18-cm adsorbent. After of 35 to 400 atomic
using a scanning
MICROBIOLOGICAL Using both potted
ANALYSIS plants and potting soil controls.
by light microscopy
CARBON-HOUSEPLANT as shown in Figure
SYSTEM chambers were for been
Air filters designed for simultaneous injected 5-min. with a 30-s hold ended when the temperature on the GC. detector.
air desorption (GC) equipped
5890 gas chromatograph
GAS CHROMATOGRAPH-MASS FOR TRACE After METABOLITES injection. samples were examined for the presence After cultures isolates of bacteria. the chamber
of benzene tissue taped followed occurred
and TCE. Stock Bacterial were isolated.Tenaxadsorbent.
. or until all trace
were removed. on PCA
were maintained were then subjected Fungal and sexual
and HP GC that have
and at 15-min intervals
of 2 h. Model
5000 automatic dioxide.
to a series
tests in order to aid in preliminary to search for the presence
onto a Kimwipe
volatilization Analysis Samples
and 100-mL on the Supelco initially
using a Tenax for a minimum
tube and air pump. for a total run time of 25. (1/4-in. mass Analysis units. 0. the sample was conducted
and then followed
at 0 °C. of asexual ACTIVATED
isolates spores. he samples T wereanalyzed
interfaced to a Hewlett-Packard 2 capillary column (HP) and Model flame an HP Ultra
using a Supelco detector.32 mm inside diameter. previously described. have elapsed. was initially beginning program separation the sample to 0 °C using carbon at 0 °C.) by 0. from the
(7-in. Following incubation at 25 °C for 24 h.
Triplicate samples were taken both before and after exposure of the plants and soil to benzene and TCE.
200 °C.5 min. and a rise in temperature reached an HP 5970 mass range selective
of 8 °C/min. and actinomycetes. Plate count data reflect bacteriological counts. Due to the inherently cannot be detected and slower growth rate of fungi samples agar.6-cm Tenax tubes
steel tubes packed contaminants desorber capillary
using the Sensidyne-Gastec using a Tekmar cooled
air pump. Complete
l were tested in one of the large Plexiglas Benzene and TCE in 500/_L and were allowed desorber were drawn.
into a HP 5890 GC equipped The GC oven program The of a temperature
with a 30-m.
Results During the final of benzene
they are far above year of this project. atmospheres.
8 were collected 4 were exposed these exposures
and final year of this project.242 deremensis "Warneckei") 10.275 deremensis "Janet Craig") Loa") 3. The screening while from data
The ability of houseplants sealed experimental shown shown in Tables in Tables chambers 1 through 4 through 1 through Although found
is demonstrated 3 was accomplished
in Tables during during
the first year of studies.581 marginata) 7. of which in the 15
Plants to 20 p/m
in Tables range.760
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea Mass cane
16.325 seifritzii) 7.
and TCE (less than 1 p/m) are shown in Tables 5
from these studies
7. and formaldehyde 8.938
Gerbera (Gerbera English (Hedera Marginata (Dracaena Peace
daisy jamesonii) ivy heix)
4. Trichloroethylene (TCE) Chamber by Houseplants
Removed from a Sealed During a 24-h Exposure
Plant (cm 2)
Removed Plant 38.
to the removal in indoor
of one or more of these chemicals.474
27.215 massangeana) 15.
to high concentrations gave a good indication
be particularly investigations through Table 8.
the levels commonly and more sophisticated
using low concentrations methods. TCE.101
(Dracaena Janet Craig
13. of chemicals.064
(Spathiphyllum Mother-in-law's (Sansevieria Warneckei (Dracaena
DISCUSSION or potting soil to remove benzene.292
.960 "Mauna tongue laurentii) 7.
14.960 "Mauna Loa") 3.500
(Aglaonema Marginata (Dracaena Bamboo
a Sealed a 24-h
Plant (cm 2)
Gerbera (Gerbera Pot mum
28.085 Queen") 7.107
39.227 morifolium) 1.Table
107.242 deremensis "Warneckei") 7.324
Mother-in-law's (Sansevieria Warneckei (Dracaena Peace lily
2.275 deremensis "Janet Craig") 10.336
(Chrysanthemum English (Hedera ivy helix)
13.581 marginata) palm seifritzii) 15.968
(Chamaedorea Janet Craig
31.656 16.581 marginata) 8.471
ear philodendron domesticum) plant elatum)
2.509 "Mauna Loa") 2.880
(Dracaena Marginata (Dracaena Peace lily
(Spathiphyllum Lacy tree
(Philodendron Chinese (Aglonema Aloe vera
. Formaldehyde by Houseplants
Removed and Soil
a Sealed a 24-h
Experimental Exposure Period
Plant (cm 2)
Total Micrograms Removed per Plant
Banana (Musa oriana) tongue laurentii)
Mother-in-law's (Sansevieria English (Hedera Bamboo ivy helix) palm
(Scindapsus Janet Craig
(Philodendron Green spider
(Chlorophytum Golden pothos
2.205 seifrizii) 1.707
(Chamaedorea Heart leaf
4.275 deremensis "Janet Craig") 7.
5.024 0.8 Initial
Benzene Final Percent
Initial (p/m) 16 17 20 20 19 20
(p/m)(p/m)Removed 14 58 65 27 20 20 11 27 21 13 14 19 21. was conducted in a sealed chamber with temperature and light intensity of 30 °C +1 and 125 footcandles _+5.182
0.6 79.097 0.127 0.162 0.235 0. 24-h in duration.166 0.4 53 67.034 0.171 0.034 0.6 73.7 52 30 5 greenhouse
(p/m)Removed 14 10 13 18 17 18 12.2 35 10 10.055 0.107 0.095
89.432 0. Benzene Removal from Houseplants During
a Sealed Experimental Chamber a 24-h Exposure Period
English Janet Golden Peace Chinese
ivy Craig pothos lily evergreen
4. respectively.156 0.2 79.5 47.204 0.6 70.5 Percent Removed 70 61 50 50 47.119
M argi n ata Mother-in-law's Warn ec kei Leak Soil test control control
0.074 0.5 41.176 tongue 0. Each test.0 52. Chemicals Experimental
by Household During a 24-h
Plants from a Sealed Exposure Period
Formaldehyde Initial (p/m) Mass cane Pot mum Gerber daisy Warneckei Ficus Leak control Note: 20 18 16 8 19 18 Final (p/m) 6 7 8 4 10 17.5 10
Plants were maintained
in a commercial-type
until ready for test-
ing.8 77.4 2.0 5.
120 0. the the
for loss of chemicals It was then assumed sealed chambers
and pots with fresh potting for controls.4 <1.2 13. plants were tested with foliage and then the same pots and soil were tested again after removing all foliage. after all foliage had been removed.269 0.321 0.126 0. soil. A microbiologist themicrobial profile found in the potting that potting soils.207 0.
than pots containing full foliage determined that this phenomenon soil surface. Controls using full plant foliage with pea gravel covering the soil were also tested (Table 7).2 23.136 tongue 0.265 0.233 0.155 0.9 17.2
Warneckei Marginata Mother-inolaw's Leak test Soil control control
to these low-light-requiring mechanism(s) involved
plant-soil system. However.2 13. toxic
contact between the soil-root zone and the chamber air containing of these new studies are shown in Tables 7 and 8.174 0.114 0. reducing
and soil. the soil and maximum Results
the potting Thus.091 0.0 20. from that after
the only controls leakage correcting
used were chambers the removal Because
free of plants soil without of chemicals
to test plants.188 0.5 9.097 0.
could rates removal
be attributed rates attributed the exact
to the plant
of the low photosynthetic houseplants were puzzling. from the
and metabolic high chemical In an effort
from these plants
at light levels of 125 to 150 footcandles.Table
6. further occurred only when large contact between allowing chemicals. was more was brought into these studies to determine
Early tests demonstrated
effective in removing benzene studies and careful observation amounts of foliage covered the air inside the chamber. Trichloroethylene Chamber
from a 24-h
a Sealed Exposure
Initial (p/m) English Janet Golden Peace ivy Craig pothos lily 0.118 0.128
Percent Removed 10.0 9. leaves.
some of the lower leaves were removed.141
Final (p/m) 0.121 0.
199 58. Marginata Full Full with Janet Full foliage foliage
Leak test.1 x 104
.215 0.206 0.1 45.062 0. empty chamber
pea gravel Craig foliage removed pothos foliage removed control 0.1 0.7 20. Benzene
Counts Several Chamber
of a 24-h Periods
Evergreen Plant After Being Exposed to Benzene in a Sealed Experimental
Soil Percent Removed 47.0 66.091 0.176 79.069
79.1 3.369 0.175 0.2 64.205
0.6 85.6 8.175 0.040 0.348 0.262 0.099 0.321 0.122 0.176 and soil covered 0.164 0.343 0.077 0.4 7.2
Foliage Golden Full
Fresh potting soil control Leak test.1 x 104 5.0 49.8
Bacterial Counts (cfu/g)
exposure six weeks of intermittent exposure
7.144 0.037 0.254 67. Benzene Houseplants Removing
Chamber Soil Periods
in Potting Soil all Plant Foliage
and the Same Potting During 24-h Exposure
Marginata Full Fresh foliage removed potting soil control chamber control empty 0.
To date. genetically
the bacterial in Table factors
with increased Data clean
the potted of air through
a fan is used to rapidly air pollutants as a food them
This filter adsorbs can utilize
holds them until the plant roots and therefore.
for microorganisms. Leuconostoc. Arthrobacter.
by screening maintained off-gassing detector chamber
the ALCA plants.Although biological as benzene. studies using indicated
Gas chromatograph-mass the air inside the sealed were negligible. These low-light-requiring low metabolic rates. of biodegrading soil microorganisms activated and most are known
Results component system it differs
of the activated effort
carbon-houseplant part of an indoor and study
was not of pollutants plant
of the NASA-ALCA air pollution
in the development roots
system with plants to remove solvents. The peace lily potting soil contained A ureobacterium. along with some plant metabolite removal should also increase organic chemicals. This to such toxic chemicals in Table have the ability
may also be important. Bacteria such as Bacillus. to continuously increasing
from this two-year the air improves
the same plants and potting their capacity adapt. studies are shown control in Figures study. Bacillus. Flavobacterium. Tenax that or any other metabolite. 3 and 4. to be capable and Streptomyces. therefore.
were Alcaligenes. Although it is an essential This biological indoor air.
studies as shown
soil are constantly
to air containing microorganisms
since it is a well-established
to utilize toxic chemicals is currently
as a food source used to remove
when continuously exposed to such chemicals. one would terpenes. toxic chemicals from wastewater. exhaust air from have microorganisms knowledge
microorganisms the filters been found
into the room air. to purify
high concentrations also utilizes from
such as cigarette reported carbon
smoke and organic microorganisms here in that filter. move and source. root growth.
the levels of plant
As temperature rates will increase and carbon rates dioxide of trace
and light levels are increased. Curtobacterium. were found in
marginata root soil. and Pseudomonas. bioregenerating the carbon. Pseudomonas. and Micrococcus were also found in the Chinese evergreen potting soil. by plant Micrococcus. To assure carbon-plant no pathogenic It is common certain that no disease-causing filter. tubes to analyze metabolites adsorption
at relatively of ethylene. it is expected off-gassing.
that indoor Increased
oxygen production in the removal
the rate of leaf participation
in the soil in which mother-in-law's Bacillus. exposed fact that
other yet unidentified indicate that when 8. and Leuconostoc
Micrococcus. thereby is not surprising. this finding
was not consistent.
in the filter exhaust
that plants give off trace levels of volatile off-gassing studies were conducted plants were normally not expect significant
conditions. These toxic are common chemicals Bacillus.
had been growing
a long period Myxococcus. when Curtobacterium.
I-Z ILl Z
' 1. activated carbon filter system.250
' 2.0 TIME (h)
. Removal of low concentrations of benzene and trichloroethylene from the air inside sealed experimental chambers using golden pothos in an 8.
4. Z C_
. Removal of high concentrations of benzene and trichloroethylene from the air inside sealed experimental chambers using golden pothos in an 8.4O
Q..Z LLI (_ Z f.in... activated carbon filter system.
do not demonstrate studies
can be expected
Ph. of this report.
filters. Douglas.. SUMMARY
when sealed inside facilities
and soil as his major
demonstrated the potential for improving pollutants from the air in energy-efficient
indoor air quality by removing trace organic buildings. energyefficient buildings.
of the beneficial
or detrimental However.Studies closed effects Arizona.
by Biosphere picture
and USSR studies
to present with plants
can expect to experience of life support.D. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
of any plan using houseplants
The authors and the editorial
wish to recognize contribution
the technical of Yvonne
to the preparation
. maximizing air exposure to the plant root-soil area should be considered when placing plants in buildings for best air filtration. at Stennis with complete studies in Siberia
effects ecological Space
on man data closure Center. and
in a soil 2 in means
have been limited. This plant system is one of the most
promising means of alleviating the sick building syndrome associated with many new. Therefore. Activated carbon filters containing fans have the capacity an integral part for rapidly filtering large volumes for
of polluted air and should be considered solving indoor air pollution problems. The plant root-soil zone appears to be the most effective area for removing volatile organic chemicals.
of volatile involving private
and R. L. vols.
C. E.. EPA. S.
. Personal ment in breathing-zone 35:193-211. Sparacino.
1984. Hartwell. Fla. and S.D. R. food
M. Sparacino. exposure: water. Pellizzari. Zelon. measurements exhaled
Boca Raton. Erickson. 1974. Zelon. Preliminary Study of Toxic Human Samples: Work Plan.
and Space Administration. Williams. J.REFERENCES
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