Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 15, pp 11543–11557 | Cite as

Removal of trimethylamine (fishy odor) by C3 and CAM plants

  • Phattara Boraphech
  • Paitip Thiravetyan
Research Article


From screening 23 plant species, it was found that Pterocarpus indicus (C3) and Sansevieria trifasciata (crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM)) were the most effective in polar gaseous trimethylamine (TMA) uptake, reaching up to 90 % uptake of initial TMA (100 ppm) within 8 h, and could remove TMA at cycles 1–4 without affecting photosystem II (PSII) photochemistry. Up to 55 and 45 % of TMA was taken up by S. trifasciata stomata and leaf epicuticular wax, respectively. During cycles 1–4, interestingly, S. trifasciata changed its stomata apertures, which was directly induced by gaseous TMA and light treatments. In contrast, for P. indicus the leaf epicuticular wax and stem were the major pathways of TMA removal, followed by stomata; these pathways accounted for 46, 46, and 8 %, respectively, of TMA removal percentages. Fatty acids, particularly tetradecanoic (C14) acid and octadecanoic (C18) acid, were found to be the main cuticular wax components in both plants, and were associated with TMA removal ability. Moreover, the plants could degrade TMA via multiple metabolic pathways associated with carbon/nitrogen interactions. In CAM plants, one of the crucial pathways enabled 78 % of TMA to be transformed directly to dimethylamine (DMA) and methylamine (MA), which differed from C3 plant pathways. Various metabolites were also produced for further detoxification and mineralization so that TMA was completely degraded by plants.


Dimethylamine Epicuticular wax Fishy odor Phytoremediation Pterocarpus indicus Sansevieria trifasciata (Hahnii Green) Trimethylamine 



The authors would like to thank the Thailand Research Fund through the Royal Golden Jubilee Ph.D. Program and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi for financially supporting Ms. Phattara Boraphech (grant No. PHD/0108/2553).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2015_4364_MOESM1_ESM.docx (56 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 55 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Bioresources and TechnologyKing Mongkut’s University of Technology ThonburiBangkokThailand

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