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Tanaman-Rumah Agar Udara Bersih

Gen tanaman-rumah (houseplant)—photos ivy—kini dapat dimodifikasi guna mengeluarkan kloroform (chloroform) dan benzena yang berisiko terhadap kesehatan manusia, dari udara sekitarnya. Tanaman hasil modifikasi itu menghasilkan protein (protein P450 2E1 atau 2E1) yang mengubah senyawa-senyawa kloroform dan benzena menjadi molekul-molekul yang mendukung pertumbuhan tanamannya. Begitu hasil riset Long Zhang, Profesor Stuart Strand, dan Ryan Routsong dari University of Washington (UW) di Amerika Serikat, yang dirilis oleh jurnal Environmental Science & Technology edisi 19 Desember 2018.

“People haven’t really been talking about these hazardous organic compounds in homes, and I think that’s because we couldn’t do anything about them. Now we’ve engineered houseplants to remove these pollutants for us. We decided we should have this reaction occur outside of the body in a plant, an example of the ‘green liver’ concept. And 2E1 can be beneficial for the plant, too. Plants use carbon dioxide and chloride ions to make their food, and they use phenol to help make components of their cell walls,” ungkap Research Professor Stuart Strand dari Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UW ((Sarah McQuate/UW News, 19/12/2018).

Tim peneliti itu membuat versi sintetik gen tanaman-rumah dan memasukannya ke dalam photos ivy. Sehingga tiap sel tanaman menghasilkan protein E21. Secara genetik, tanaman hasil modifikasi itu tidak dapat berkembang melalui polinasi (serbuk-sari).   Kemudian tim ahli itu menguji seberapa berfungsi tanaman modifikasi dapat mengeluarkan polutan dari udara, jika dibandingkan dengan pothos ivy normal. Riset ini didanai oleh National Science Foundation, Amazon Catalyst (UW) dan National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences di Amerika Serikat (University of Washington, 19/12/2018).

“This whole process took more than two years. That is a long time, compared to other lab plants, which might only take a few months. But we wanted to do this in pothos because it’s a robust houseplant that grows well under all sort of conditions,” ujar Long Zhang, peneliti pada Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, UW (UW News, 19/12/2018).

Oleh: Servas Pandur