Similar tests in other settings found that levels of airborne mold spores, bacteria and other contaminants, which can initiate asthma episodes for example, are also lower than in rooms which did not have these specific tropical plants.
Research demonstrates that the indoor plants – most of which are originated in tropical rainforests – are able to remove indoor air pollutants because of microbes they create around their root systems. In the wild, these microbes rapidly biodegrade and mineralize leaves and other debris to provide nutrients. Because the structure of many harmful indoor chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and xylene have structures similar to these natural materials, the microbes continue to function indoors as they do outdoors.
Furthermore, tropical plants have genetic codes that cause them to produce as yet unidentified substances to protect themselves from airborne molds and mildew. Supported by special design elements such as ventilation and filtering, such live plants can serve as an effective component of a structure’s indoor air-quality management system.