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Removal of Trimethylamine from Indoor Air Using Potted Plants under Light and Dark Conditions

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 19 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1105-1113
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.09.0334
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Tatiya Wannomai1, Patiya Kemacheevakul 1,2, Paitip Thiravetyan3

  • 1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok 10140, Thailand
  • 2 Center of Excellences on Hazardous Substance Management (HSM), Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • 3 School of Bioresources and Technology, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok 10150, Thailand


  • Trimethylamine (TMA) can be removed by various kinds of potted plants.
  • Light conditions have a significant effect on plant mechanism for TMA removal.
  • The highest TMA removal (95.4%) is achieved in Scindapsus aureus (light conditions).
  • Cactus has high removal efficiency under both light and dark conditions.


A phytoremediation was evaluated as a solution for mitigating the fishy odor, or trimethylamine (TMA), that occurs in the seafood industry, including fresh markets. A synthetic TMA chemical was used to generate the fishy odor, and eight types of potted plants—Prickly pear cactus, Dracaena sanderiana Sander, Dieffenbachia camilla, Tradescantia spathacea, Peperomia magnoliifolia, Chlorophytum comosum, Cereus hexagonus (L.) Mill., and Scindapsus aureus—were selected as candidates for removing TMA in light and dark conditions. The results showed that S. aureus had the highest TMA removal efficiency in light conditions after 72 h (> 95%). However, it had very low efficiency under dark conditions, suggesting that S. aureus should be placed in locations with all-day light sources. On the other hand, cactus types (C. hexagonus (L.) Mill. and Prickly pear cactus) are highly efficient at removing TMA in both light and dark conditions after 72 h (> 90%) and may therefore be more suitable for real-world environments containing both light and dark conditions.


Fishy odor Phytoremediation Trimethylamine Potted plant Light conditions

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