Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Microwave Irradiation Affects Gene Expression in Plants

Published in: Plant Signal Behav 2006; 1 (2): 67-70

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effect of mobile phone intensity microwave irradiation on tomato plant studying the accumulation of a stress-related transcript that responds very rapidly to even small environmental stimulations.
Background/further details: Leaf tissue was collected at various times (0, 5, 15, 30, 60 min.) after the end of exposure.



    • mobile communications
Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 10 min
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 10 min
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • MSRC
Chamber The MSRC (mode stirred reverberation chamber) consisted of a large room (200 m³) with a double-layered metal wall, acting as a Faraday cage, a log-periodic antenna, and a rotary stirrer creating different patterns of multiple reflections on the chamber walls, thus randomizing the polarization of the electromagnetic waves. Tomato plants were grown inside EMF-permeable culture chambers. Shielded chambers were enclosed in a polymer mesh covered with an aluminium layer causing 45 dB signal attenuation to protect the plants from exposure.
Setup When the plants were 3 weeks old, the whole culture chamber was placed in the MSRC (18 h prior to irradiation) in a defined working volume where the field was statistically isotropic and homogeneous.
Additional info The fourth terminal leaf (exposed and shielded) was collected at various times after exposure (0, 5, 15, 30, and 60 min). Control plants were collected before stimulation.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 5 V/m - - - input amplitude
electric field strength 3.9 V/m - - - inside the culture chamber
electric field strength 0.5 V/m - - - shielded culture chamber
Measurement and calculation details
To verify the isotropy and homogeneity of the EMF, the chamber was excited with single frequency signals varying from 800 to 1000 MHz, and 18 measurements of the three spatial components of the electric field in 8 locations within the culture chamber were made per stirrer rotation for each tested frequency.
Exposed system:
  • plant
  • tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.)/VFN8
  • whole body

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data showed that low amplitude, short duration, 900 MHz electromagnetic field evoked the accumulation of the stress-related transcript (mRNA). This accumulation was rapid (peaking 5-15 min after exposure), strong (3.5-fold), and was similar to that evoked by injurious stimuli.
In some experiments, the accumulation began immediately after the end of the exposure, while in others there was a short delay. In all cases, the response was maximal at 5-15 min. after the end of exposure, in some cases declined somewhat at 30 min., but generally remained at high levels until 60 min.
Study character:

Study funded by

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

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