Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Indoor Plants Found To Release Volatile Organic Compounds

Date:
September 6, 2009
Source:
American Society for Horticultural Science
Summary:
Potted plants add aesthetic value to homes and offices, and have been shown to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) gases or vapors emitted by solids and liquids that may have adverse health effects. But take heed when considering adding some green to your environment; in addition to giving off oxygen and sucking out harmful VOCs, a new study shows that some indoor plants actually release volatile organic compounds into the environment.

Ficus benjamina, a popular houseplant, was found to emit VOCs.

Potted plants add a certain aesthetic value to homes and offices, bringing a touch of nature to indoor spaces. It has also been shown that many common house plants have the ability to remove volatile organic compounds—gases or vapors emitted by solids and liquids that may have adverse short- and long-term health effects on humans and animals—from indoor air.

But take heed when considering adding some green to your environment; in addition to giving off healthy oxygen and sucking out harmful VOCs, a new study shows that some indoor plants actually release volatile organic compounds into the environment.

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.

Other VOCs released did not come from the plant itself, but rather the micro-organisms living in the soil. "Although micro-organisms in the media have been shown to be important in the removal of volatile air pollutants, they also release volatiles into the atmosphere", Kays stated. Furthermore, 11 of the VOCs came from the plastic pots containing the plants. Several of these VOCs are known to negatively affect animals.

Interestingly, VOC emission rates were higher during the day than at night in all of the species, and all classes of emissions were higher in the day than at night. The presence of light along with many other factors effect synthesis, which determines the rate of release.

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dong Sik Yang, Ki-Cheol Son and Stanley J. Kays. Volatile Organic Compounds Emanating from Indoor Ornamental Plants. HortScience, 44: 396-400 (2009) [link]

Cite This Page:

American Society for Horticultural Science. "Indoor Plants Found To Release Volatile Organic Compounds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163949.htm>.
American Society for Horticultural Science. (2009, September 6). Indoor Plants Found To Release Volatile Organic Compounds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163949.htm
American Society for Horticultural Science. "Indoor Plants Found To Release Volatile Organic Compounds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903163949.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins