Thai researchers develop plant-based weapon against PM2.5 pollution
Researchers at Naresuan University (NU) in Phitsanulok province have developed a new weapon in Thailand’s war on deadly PM2.5 air pollution.
PM.drop, a solution designed to reduce smog particles in the air, is made from safe plant extracts and is ready to commence commercial production.
The new solution is used as a spray that captures PM 2.5 dust particles in the air and causes them to settle. It comes in both a concentrated form for mixing and a ready-to-use formula. The ingredients derive from natural sources, particularly from the palm family plant.
Seasonal smog often sees Thailand ranked among the top 10 most polluted countries in the world, with PM2.5 levels regularly exceeding the national safe standard of 35 micrograms per cubic metre per 24 hours. High levels of fine dust particles are linked with early death from heart and lung conditions.
The Naresuan University research team said that its tests showed PM.drop was able to reduce high concentrations of PM dust to safe levels.
One application of the PM. drop spray was effective for two to three hours in open areas and could last the entire day in enclosed spaces, it said.
The solution has a coconut-like scent due to the inclusion of palm plant derivatives, ensuring its safety, researchers said.
PM.drop can be applied in a variety of ways to suit the size and characteristics of the polluted area. For example, it can be used with ULV (ultra-low-volume) sprayers, fogging machines or drones.
ULV sprayers are best for reducing dust indoors while fogging machines can be used as dust barriers within buildings, and drones are employed during recreational or external activities.
Assistant Professor Watoo Phrompittayarat, who heads the research team at NU’s Public Health Faculty, said PM.drop is awaiting patent approval and is ready to begin commercialisation in line with his institution’s ethos as a “university for entrepreneurs".