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Tackling the isoprene menace with wood charcoal

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Isoprene is a naturally produced organic compound, produced by plants. It is a colourless volatile liquid produced by many plants and is the main component of natural rubber. Although the role of isoprene as a pollutant is yet to be confirmed, it has been shown that in the presence of high amounts of nitric oxides, isoprene can lead to the formation of lower atmosphere ozone, which is considered as a leading air pollutant in many countries. The effect of isoprene on aerosols is also contended, with some researchers claiming that it could increase the amount of aerosols, leading to pollution. Researchers at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi have now used another natural product- wood charcoal as a bio-filter to eliminate isoprene. Their study shows wood charcoal and nutrient-enriched wood charcoal, which is wood charcoal that is inoculated with the bacterial species Pseudomonas was more than 90% efficient at removing isoprenes when used as a bio-filter. Although the effects of isoprenes on the atmosphere are yet to be confirmed, the study shows that we can be sure of controlling the compound if it turns out to be a threat to our atmosphere.