Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Neoplants

'Super plants' improve home air quality 

Architecture & Design

The bioengineered plants turn pollutants into sugar and amino acids

Spotted: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are almost everywhere in the home. With items ranging from dryer sheets and non-stick cookware to vinyl flooring and memory foam mattresses containing these dangerous chemicals, it is very difficult to avoid indoor pollutants. Air filters have become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic, and as well as removing bacteria and viruses, often provide additional benefits by removing VOCs as well.  

However, so many chemicals are used in manufacturing devices that French biotech company Neoplants decided to take a different approach to reducing indoor air pollution. With nature as a guide, the company revealed its first bioengineered Golden Pothos plant. Named the Neo P1, the plant removes up to 30 times as many pollutants as an average houseplant.  The new version of the pothos contains additional genes that enable the plant to transform captured pollutants into fructose and amino acids, which it uses for food and growth.  

The engineered genes are designed specifically to remove the four most common VOCs – formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and xylene. Without the additional genes, a regular houseplant simply accumulates the chemicals within its systems, much as humans do, without a means of metabolising them. The Neo P1, on the other hand, is specifically able to use these chemicals to further its growth. 

The waiting list for the plants is now open, and the starting price for a single plant is $179 (around €157).  

Springwise has spotted many innovations in the bioengineering sphere seeking to clean our air and encourage biodiversity, including moss walls to cool city streets, and a sound barrier in high-traffic areas.

Written By: Keely Khoury


Download PDF