Within the project ‘Plant champion air purification’, a public-private cooperation within Topsector Horticulture and Starting materials, a literate survey was carried out by WUR Greenhouse Horticulture to explore recent findings on the possibilities of plants to purify indoor contaminated air. Literature was searched in academic journals, on the internet and within reports recently carried out for the horticultural sector. Here this knowledge is shortly described. Plants generally have the capacity to assimilate hydrophilic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde without harm. Lipophilic VOCs are less well assimilated and follow different uptake pathways. Differences between plant species can sometimes be related to amount of leaves, wax layer composition, stomatal conductance or hairs. Apart from the green plant parts, the roots, the micro-organisms and rooting medium have a role in air purification. The research in plant chambers mainly generated knowledge on short term uptake of volatiles, but the uptake mechanisms and the long-term performances of plants are only partly understood. The research on upscaling of lab results to air purification in rooms within buildings is currently rapidly evolving. A few good studies have been done and show promising results. More research is needed to extrapolate the findings from lab research to practice in a reliable way
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