An efficient plant–microbe phytoremediation method to remove formaldehyde from air

  • Yuxia Yang
  • Yuhong SuEmail author
  • Suya Zhao
Original Paper


In 2012, 7 million premature deaths were attributed to air pollution, of which 4.3 million to indoor air pollution inducing the “sick building syndrome.” In particular, formaldehyde, a toxic and highly reactive chemical, has been linked to cancer. The use of soil microbial biomass and plants to remove formaldehyde from polluted air by plants has been proposed, but there are so far few quantitative reports. Here, we developed an efficient plant–microbe technology to remove formaldehyde by adding cultured microorganism into the rhizosphere of three plant species, Tradescantia zebrina Bosse (T. zebrina), Aloe vera (Haw.) Ber (A. vera) and Vigna radiata (Linn.) Wilczek (V. radiata). Shoots were exposed to 0.72 mg of formaldehyde per m3 of air for 24 h. Results show that formaldehyde removal rates were 23.1 ± 0.1 μg/h/g fresh weight with microbes versus 18.5 ± 0.21 μg/h/g without microbes for A. vera, 86.4 ± 0.7 versus 59.3 ± 0.2 μg/h/g for T. zebrine and 97.6 ± 0.9 versus 25.1 ± 4.2 μg/h/g for V. radiata. Overall, formaldehyde removal was increased by 6.7–90.5% using microbes. Formaldehyde removal was influenced by light intensity, with this effect more pronounced in plant–microbe systems.


Formaldehyde Air Microbe–plant technology Redox reaction Enzymatic reaction 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21667028, 41361072, U1403381).

Complaince with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10311_2019_922_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringXinjiang UniversityÜrümqiPeople’s Republic of China

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