Breath of fresh air: A bioengineered super-plant for purifying may be new future tool

Express News Service

Going green is getting a tech stamp. A bioengineered super-plant may just be the tool of the future to purify air at home. Even though there are several indoor plants used to do the job, nothing compares to Neo P1, a genetically engineered plant that offers purification equivalent to 30 indoor plants.

A type of pothos, a plant variety that is efficient at removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, Neo P1 is the creation of a Paris-based biotech startup called Neoplants. Open for pre-orders through its website, the plant has its unique soil, replete with biochar, the black carbon residue remaining after the heating of organic materials, such as biomass.

This efficiently captures large amounts of formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and xylene—the four most toxic substances found indoors. At its core, Neoplants believes nature to be the most powerful piece of technology. Leveraging this idea through the interplay of genes added to the plant’s DNA, the enzymes that are produced convert the environmental toxins, especially the four VOCs, into harmless compounds, which are used by the bio plant. The formaldehyde transforms into fructose and benzene, and toluene and xylene change into amino acids.

Neo P1 doesn’t need much attention either. A plant supplement called power drops is added to the soil once a month, which takes care of all its nutritional needs. Other than that, all it requires is some water—once a month during winter, and once in two weeks during summer. The built-in reservoir in the pot helps with efficient absorption. Ready to turn to greener pastures?

While air purifiers are great at capturing particulate matter, they aren’t able to catch the four volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or the most toxic substances found in household air—formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and xylene. Bio plants don’t require electricity and run around the clock.

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