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Indoor plants remove gases or vapors from indoor air

Potted plants don't only add a certain aesthetic value to homes and offices, bringing a touch of nature to indoor spaces but have short and long term health effects on humans and animals

A research team headed by Stanley J. Kays of the University of Georgia's Department of Horticulture conducted a study to identify and measure the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by four popular indoor potted plant species. The study, published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortScience, also noted the source of VOCs and differences in emission rates between day and night.

The four plants used in the study were Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii Regel), Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata Prain), Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina L.), and Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens Wendl.). Samples of each plant were placed in glass containers with inlet ports connected to charcoal filters to supply purified air and outlet ports connected to traps where volatile emissions were measured. The results were compared to empty containers to verify the absence of contaminants. A total of 23 volatile compounds were found in Peace Lily, 16 in Areca Palm, 13 in Weeping Fig, and 12 in Snake Plant. Some of the VOCs are ingredients in pesticides applied to several species during the production phase.

The study concluded that while ornamental plants are known to remove certain VOCs, they also emit a variety of VOCs, some of which are known to be biologically active. The longevity of these compounds has not been adequately studied, and the impact of these compounds on humans is unknown.

by S. C.
07 september 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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