The Phytair project is a French project leads by the CSTB (French Scientific and Techinic Building Center), Plant'Airpur (an association of indoor landscape designers, horticulturists and architects) and the Pharmaceutical University of Lille.
They are studying the feasibility of an indoor air treatment by the plants. The project has begun in 2004 (beginning of the researches) and will normally end on october 2006.
The points of the research are the following ones :
- How the plants used the pollutants ?
- Which part of the plant is really involved in the mechanism ?
- Elimination kinetic
- Environment of the plant (type of room, size of room...)
The final aim of this project will be the label of some plants for their ability to remove pollutants.
The different tested gas are introduced in a glass watertight experimental chamber that contains the tested plants (Chlorophytum comosum, Dracćna marginata et Scindapsus aureus).
Exposure parameters are evaluated and the mesurement of the gas level in the chamber is used to determine the elimination kinetics.
According to the first results, the pollutant elimination speed varies according to its nature. Thus, the formaldehyde is eliminated more quickly than the toluene or the carbone monoxide. Besides, the eliminated quantities reported on the surface of leaves are approximately the same for the species C.comosum and S.aureus.
Finally, if it appears that the soil and its micro-organisms play a major role in the toluene elimination, the entire system soil-plant remains the most efficient. The toluene was found in the dosages realized in leaves, it can thus accumulate in these latter.
Here is an explanation of the pollutant removal mechanism by plants. But the project will normally give us more precise information about that when it will be finished.