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Fundamentals of Ornamental Plants in Removing Benzene in Indoor Air

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
Sustainable Resource Management, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL A2H 5G4, Canada
Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(4), 221;
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
PDF [1163 KB, uploaded 26 April 2019]


The concentration of benzene in indoor air has received appreciable attention due to its adverse health effects. Although phytoremediation has been considered as an eco-friendly method to remove benzene, it is unclear how to select plants with a high removal rate. In this study, we evaluated the benzene removal efficiency of four common ornamental plants, Epipremnum aureum, Chlorophytum comosum, Hedera helix and Echinopsis tubiflora, and we also explored the factors impacting benzene removal efficiency. The removal efficiency of all plants in this study averaged at 72 percent. The benzene absorption rates of Epipremnum aureum, Hedera helix and Chlorophytum comosum were 1.10, 0.85 and 0.27 µg·m−3·cm−2, respectively. This is due to the different transpiration rates and chlorophyll concentrations in the plants. The benzene removal efficiency of crassulacean acid metabolism plant (Echinopsis tubiflora) was 23% higher than C3 plant (Epipremnum aureum) under dark conditions. This can be attributed to the fact that the characteristic of Echinopsis tubiflora stomata is different from Epipremnum aureum stomata, which is still open under dark conditions. Therefore, Echinopsis tubiflora can take up more benzene than Epipremnum aureum. For different initial benzene concentrations, the benzene removal efficiency of Echinopsis tubiflora was always great (50–80%), owing to its high rate of transpiration and concentration of chlorophyll. Our findings indicate that transpiration rate and chlorophyll concentration can be used as reference parameters to facilitate ornamental plant screening for indoor air quality improvement. View Full-Text
Keywords: Phytoremediation; benzene; ornamental plants; indoor air quality Phytoremediation; benzene; ornamental plants; indoor air quality

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Gong, Y.; Zhou, T.; Wang, P.; Lin, Y.; Zheng, R.; Zhao, Y.; Xu, B. Fundamentals of Ornamental Plants in Removing Benzene in Indoor Air. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 221.

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