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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

High frequency (900 MHz) low amplitude (5 V m-1) electromagnetic field: a genuine environmental stimulus that affects transcription, translation, calcium and energy charge in tomato.

Published in: Planta 2008; 227 (4): 883-891

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To measure rapid molecular responses (i.e. accumulation of stress-related transcripts and cellular energy state) in tomato plants after short-term exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields.
Background/further details: All of the transcripts investigated are wound-up-regulated. Thus, similarities between wounding and radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure could be studied. Additionally, since two of them encode calcium-binding proteins, the authors examined the effects of varying calcium availability to determine if there was any feedback mechanism involved in their transcription.
ATP concentration and adenylate energy charge were also measured after exposure, as well as the effect of an uncoupling agent on transcript accumulation in order to assess the influence of radiofrequency exposure on cellular energy status and to correlate this with changes in mRNA abundances.

Endpoint

Exposure

    • RF field
Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 10 min
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 10 min
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • MSRC
Chamber Seeds were grown inside two identical custom-made (plywood) culture chambers with a hydroponic system. One of the chambers was armoured with a multi-layered aluminum material to protect the plants from exposure.
Setup When the plants were 3 weeks old, the whole culture chamber was placed in the MSRC (24 h prior to irradiation) in a volume where the field was homogeneous and isotropic. The MSRC (mode stirred reverberation chamber) was a large (200 m³) Faraday cage with an RF-EMF that irradiated plants from several directions with different polarizations (due to reflection properties of the MSRC).
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 5 V/m - - - -
Reference articles
  • Beaubois E et al. (2007): Intercellular communication in plants: evidence for two rapidly transmitted systemic signals generated in response to electromagnetic field stimulation in tomato.
  • Vian A et al. (2006): Microwave Irradiation Affects Gene Expression in Plants
  • Roux D et al. (2006): Electromagnetic fields (900 MHz) evoke consistent molecular responses in tomato plants.
Exposed system:
  • plant
  • tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)/VFN8
  • whole body

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data provide new evidence supporting the hypothesis that plants perceive and respond to microwave exposure as though it was an injurious treatment. In addition to the rapidity of the response (stress-related mRNA accumulation) and its dependency on the second messenger calcium, the authors observed a strong correlation between all the parameters measured (total and polysomal transcript abundance, ATP concentration and adenylate energy charge.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Ministère délégué à l'Enseignement supérieur et à la Recherche (Ministry of National Education and Research), France

Comments on this article

  • Roux D et al. (2008): Article Addendum: A possible role for extra-cellular ATP in plant responses to high frequency, low amplitude electromagnetic field

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