Breathe Easy – An Enhanced Air-Purifying Houseplant Is on the Way

Staff
8 Min Read

Indoor air quality has become an increasingly important feature of health and well-being, as more people spend more time indoors. Unfortunately, homes, offices, and other indoor spaces are often rife with invisible pollutants that can harm human health, from respiratory issues to long-term neurological impacts.

In addition to respiratory problems, poor air quality generally leads to various other health issues like headaches, and fatigue. To address this, Neoplants, a French startup established in 2018, has developed the unique Neo Px, an air-purifying houseplant that significantly improves indoor air quality and enhances overall well-being.

The Importance of Clean Indoor Air

Indoor air pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), have long been linked to various health issues, including cancer, respiratory problems, and allergies. 

 

The Marble Queen Pothos Neo Px houseplant.

 

VOCs such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and xylene, are common indoor pollutants found in various household products, from paints and cleaning supplies to furniture and building materials. Exposure to these compounds has been linked to a host of health concerns that even extend to cancer. Further studies have shown that exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to decreased productivity, increased stress, and even intensified conditions like anxiety and depression.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

Clean air, on the other hand, can provide numerous well-being benefits. Breathing in clean, filtered air is not just a luxury, but a necessity for physical and mental health. It improves respiratory function, reduces the risk of allergies and asthma, and enhances cognitive function. Additional studies have shown that exposure to nature, such as plants, can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress and anxiety levels.

 

​Neo Px: The Air-Purifying Houseplant by Neoplants

 

Neo Px – the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

Neoplants, the Parisian biotechnology startup, took on the challenge of addressing the pressing issue of indoor air improvement with its innovative Neo Px. This genetically modified houseplant is anticipated to be a game-changer in indoor air purification.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

While many plants have a natural and inherent ability to purify and enhance indoor air, Neo Px comes as a bioengineered houseplant that can purify indoor air pollution by capturing and recycling harmful air pollutants circulating within the home. The plant – in this case, Marble Queen Pothos – uses a unique bioengineered microbiome, composed of microorganisms engineered to metabolize and recycle the VOCs.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

The bioengineered microbiome is housed in a small, biodegradable unit called a power drop, which is dissolved in water and added to the soil. The Marble Queen Pothos, which is known for its air-purifying properties, then absorbs the bioengineered microorganisms and utilizes them to purify the air.

Basically, the plant’s roots absorb the bioengineered microbiome, and as the plant’s leaves and stems draw in air, the VOCs are transported to the roots, where the microbiome ‘eats’ the pollutants, converting them into harmless substances like sugars and amino acids that the plant can use for growth.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

Neo Px’s design further enhances its air purification capabilities. The plant’s vase, or ‘shell,’ is designed to maximize air intake, ensuring that the maximum amount of polluted air comes into contact with the bioengineered microbiome. Additionally, the self-watering system in the shell helps to maintain the plant’s health, reducing the need for frequent watering and ensuring that the microbiome remains active and thriving. This setup, essentially, increases root growth and improves the plant’s overall health.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

The Science Behind Neo Px: Is It the Future of Indoor Air Purification?

Neo Px addresses the air purification concern by leveraging the power of nature. This unique houseplant, which is a modified form of the popular Golden Pothos, boasts enhanced air purification capabilities. Neoplants’ scientists indicate that the bacteria – the bioengineered microbiome – they have developed for absorption by the plant are up to thirty times more effective at purifying the air than traditional houseplants.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

The key, in this case, lies in the bioengineered microbiome — a carefully crafted blend of microorganisms designed to capture and recycle harmful air pollutants. The Parisian startup spent more than five years developing the bioengineered microbiome using two types of bacteria and subjected them to a process called directed evolution several times. This process triggered the bacteria to develop beneficial mutations, enabling them to metabolize pollutants thus enhancing their ability to break down pollutants and convert them into useful substances.

And the result is a houseplant that can purify the air, providing a healthier and more comfortable living environment.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

A Visually Appealing Sustainable Houseplant

In addition to its air-purifying capabilities, Neo Px is also a visually appealing houseplant. The Marble Queen Pothos has beautiful variegated leaves. Plus, the shell is made of eco-friendly Poly(lactic acid), or simply PLA, flax, sourced from renewable and biodegradable resources.

Also, unlike energy-intensive mechanical filters, Neo Px relies on the power of nature, harnessing the natural processes of plants and microorganisms to clean the air. This not only reduces the environmental impact but also creates a more visually appealing and soothing addition to any indoor space.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

Another key advantage of the Neo Px over traditional air purifiers is its ability to tackle a wider range of pollutants. While mechanical air filters are effective at removing particulate matter, they often struggle to capture the smaller, more complex VOCs. But Neo Px can, according to the scientists, address this.

A Significant Step in the Field of Indoor Air Purification

While the concept of a bioengineered houseplant cleaning the air is an exciting one, it is important to understand the limits. Even though Neo Px promises significant improvement in air quality, it is unlikely to completely eliminate all pollutants. The efficiency of the plant may also vary depending on the size of the space and the level of pollution.

 

Neo Px, the Air-Purifying Houseplant From Neoplants

 

The developers acknowledge these limitations and emphasize the need for further research and testing by doing more rigorous tests in specially designed rooms that mimic real-life environments, to accurately assess the plant’s performance. The company is also developing a new metric to better evaluate the effectiveness of bioengineered houseplants, as traditional methods used for mechanical air purifiers may not be suitable.

 

​Neo Px: The Air-Purifying Houseplant by Neoplants

 

Even so, despite these hiccups, Neo Px presents a significant step forward in indoor air purification. It offers a natural and aesthetically pleasing solution to a growing concern, by combining the beauty of houseplants and the benefits of advanced biotechnology.

 

Photos courtesy of @neoplantsofficial.

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