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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Dec 19. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b04811. [Epub ahead of print]

Greatly Enhanced Removal of Volatile Organic Carcinogens by a Genetically Modified Houseplant, Pothos Ivy ( Epipremnum aureum) Expressing the Mammalian Cytochrome P450 2e1 Gene.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , University of Washington , Box 355014, Seattle , Washington 98195-5014 , United States.


The indoor air in urban homes of developed countries is usually contaminated with significant levels of volatile organic carcinogens (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, benzene, and chloroform. There is a need for a practical, sustainable technology for the removal of VOCs in homes. Here we show that a detoxifying transgene, mammalian cytochrome P450 2e1 can be expressed in a houseplant, Epipremnum aureum, pothos ivy, and that the resulting genetically modified plant has sufficient detoxifying activity against benzene and chloroform to suggest that biofilters using transgenic plants could remove VOCs from home air at useful rates.


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