Bioremediation of Volatile Organic Compounds in Indoor Spaces Using a Novel Biowall Design: A Feasibility Study


Indoor air can contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), released from household materials at concentrations ten times higher than outdoors, causing numerous health problems, and potentially cancer. Indoor biowalls present a solution to poor air quality from their ability to bioremediate VOCs with Hyphomicrobium spp., which exists on plant roots and actively consumes VOCs. Quantitative-PCR was used to assess Hyphomicrobium spp. population among four morphologically different plant species exposed to four common VOCs in enclosed aeroponic chambers with inconclusive results due to equipment failure. Additionally, an innovative biowall was designed incorporating a dissolution system into the irrigation loop to deliver VOCs to Hyphomicrobium spp. On roots via water. The dissolution system successfully absorbed 96% of isopropanol from air during experimental testing. Analysis of the prototype biowall provided unclear results due to complications with system airtightness, but resulted in multiple insights into improvements in methodology and direction of future research.