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J Physiol Anthropol. 2007 Nov;26(6):599-603.

The impact of plants on the reduction of volatile organic compounds in a small space.

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Dept. of Sustainable Architectural Engineering, Graduate School, Hanyang University, 17 Haengdang-dong Seongdong-ku, Seoul, Korea.


This study aims at examining the reduction of indoor air contaminants by plants placed in an indoor space. Field measurements were performed using Aglaonema brevispathum, Pachira aquatica, and Ficus benjamiana, which were verified as air-purifying plants by NASA. Three conditions for the amount of plants and positions were used in two separate rooms whose dimensions are identical. The concentration of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) was monitored three hours after the plants were placed and three days after the plants were placed. The variations of concentration of Benzene, Toluene, Etylbenzene, and Xylene (BTEX), as well as Formaldehyde, which are all known as the major elements of Volatile Organic Compounds were monitored. The amount of reduction in concentration of Toluene and Formaldehyde was monitored 3 hours and 3 days after the plants were placed in the space. The reduction in the concentration of Benzene, Toluene, Etylbenzene, Xylene, and Formaldehyde was significantly greater when plants were present. When plants were placed near a window, the reduction of concentration was greater. The more plants were used, the more a reduction of indoor air contaminants occurred. The effect of reducing the concentration of air contaminants increased when the amount of plants increased, and when the plants were placed in sunny area. The concentration of Toluene was reduced by 45.6 microg/m(3) when 10% of the model space was occupied by Aglaonema brevispathum.

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