Indoor pollutants

This study focuses on the plants that improve the air quality and purify air. Air pollution can be reduced using phytoremediation by knowing the right plants to remove the pollutants. In the present study, the role of indoor and outdoor plants helps in air purification and compared the pollutants removed by selected indoor plants. The importance of the Air Pollution Tolerance Index (APTI) of selected outdoor plants was also analysed. Indoor air pollution, originating from various sources, accumulates and significantly impacts human health. Major pollutants like carbon monoxide, sourced from fuel and tobacco combustion, impair oxygen transport in the body, leading to headaches, fatigue, and reduced reflexes. The literature was retrieved through a search on electronic databases like Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, and Google Scholar. The keywords and phrases used during the search were medicinal plants, mechanism of action, air pollution, indoor plants, and outdoor activity. Plants clean the air through the process of photosynthesis. Oxygenic photosynthesis involves the conversion of water and CO2 into complex organic molecules such as carbohydrates and oxygen.

Author(s) Details:

Manju Madhavan
Department of Botany, St. Mary’s College, Thrissur, 680 020, India.

Abisha, AV
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

Leen Babu
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

Liyana K
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

Sanjana Chacko
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

Soniya A
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

Sheeja T Tharakan
Department of Botany, Vimala College (Autonomous), Thrissur, 680 009, India.

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Recent Global Research Developments in the Analysis of Air Purification by Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Studies have shown that indoor environments can be at least twice as polluted as outdoor environments due to factors like human activity and building design [1]. As a result, improving indoor air quality has become crucial. Here are some notable findings:

Biological Systems for Indoor Air Purification:

  • Researchers have explored biological methods as a ‘green’ alternative to traditional physical–chemical approaches.
  • These systems utilize living organisms (such as plants and microorganisms) to remove pollutants from the air.
  • Challenges include addressing low pollutant concentrations, ensuring microbial safety, and incorporating CO₂ removal.
  • Despite challenges, biological systems offer promise for enhancing Indoor Environment Quality, reducing energy costs, and improving well-being.

Microalgae-Based Indoor Air Cleaning:

  • Microalgae, a type of microscopic plant, can play a role in air purification.
  • Commercial-scale systems using microalgae are being explored for indoor spaces [2].
  • These systems can help remove pollutants and enhance indoor air quality.

Awareness of Biological Contaminants:

  • The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has heightened awareness of indoor air biological contamination.
  • Microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, fungal spores, and mycelial fragments can impact indoor air quality [3].


  1. Kraakman, N.J.R., González-Martín, J., Pérez, C. et al. Recent advances in biological systems for improving indoor air quality. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 20, 363–387 (2021).
  2. Mata TM, Oliveira GM, Monteiro H, Silva GV, Caetano NS, Martins AA. Indoor Air Quality Improvement Using Nature-Based Solutions: Design Proposals to Greener Cities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(16):8472.
  3. Szczotko M, Orych I, Mąka Ł, Solecka J. A Review of Selected Types of Indoor Air Purifiers in Terms of Microbial Air Contamination Reduction. Atmosphere. 2022; 13(5):800.

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