Horticulture, Environment, and Biotechnology

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 143–157 | Cite as

Phytoremediation of volatile organic compounds by indoor plants: a review

  • Kwang Jin Kim
  • Md. Khalekuzzaman
  • Jung Nam Suh
  • Hyeon Ju Kim
  • Charlotte Shagol
  • Ho-Hyun Kim
  • Hyung Joo Kim
Review Article


Air quality in homes, offices, and other indoor spaces has become a major health, economic, and social concern. A plant-based removal system for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) appears to be a low-cost, environment-friendly solution for improving indoor air quality. This review presents and assesses VOC removal mechanisms that use plants and their associated microorganisms as well as the factors that influence the rate and efficiency of VOC removal. To increase removal efficiency, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of VOC degradation by plants and their associated microorganisms. The potential of plants and their associated microorganisms, whether present in pots or forced-air systems, to remove VOCs from indoor environments have been supported by a number of studies. Variations in removal efficiency depend on the plant species used, the chemical properties of the volatiles in question, and a cross-section of other internal and external factors. It is thus critical to select the right plants and use methods that reflect in vivo conditions. Indoor plants with superior air-purifying abilities have been extensively studied; however, the low rates of VOC removal efficiency in interior environments entail the need of more studies. For instance, factors that modulate VOC removal by plants, such as air circulation rate, light intensity, moisture status, and season need to be explored. Improving the efficiency of plants and their associated microorganisms for VOC remediation of indoor air is necessary to ensure sustainable and healthy indoor environments.


Botanical biofiltration Foliage plants Indoor air quality Pollutant removal 



This work has been carried out with the support of the Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science and Technology Development (Project No. PJ01221501), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society for Horticultural Science and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kwang Jin Kim
    • 1
  • Md. Khalekuzzaman
    • 2
  • Jung Nam Suh
    • 1
  • Hyeon Ju Kim
    • 1
  • Charlotte Shagol
    • 1
  • Ho-Hyun Kim
    • 3
  • Hyung Joo Kim
    • 4
  1. 1.Urban Agriculture Research DivisionNational Institute of Horticultural and Herbal Science, Rural Development AdministrationWanjuSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Genetic Engineering and BiotechnologyUniversity of RajshahiRajshahiBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Integrated Environmental SystemsPyeongtaek UniversityPyeongtaekSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Microbial EngineeringKonkuk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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