Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effects of electromagnetic fields on the reproductive capacity of Drosophila melanogaster. med./bio.

Published in: Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation Springer, 2003: 545-578, ISBN 9783540429890

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the effects of different types of electromagnetic fields (sinusoidal magnetic field, pulsed electric field, radiofrequency pulsed (GSM) field) on reproductive capacity of the insect Drosophila melanogaster.

Background/further details

Each group consisted of ten female and ten male newly emerged flies kept in separate vials for the first 48 h. After the 48 h, when both males and females of each group were sexually mature, they were put together (10 pairs) in another glass vial and they were allowed to mate and lay eggs for the next 72 h.
Additionally, newly emerged flies were exposed to a combination of alternating 50 Hz magnetic field and heat shock (30°C) for 48 h. In these experiments the ten males and the ten females of each group were put together in the same vial from the beginning of each experiment and they were exposed for 48 h. Then the females were dissected and the eggs of different stages in their ovaries were examined for possible malformations.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 5 days
Exposure 2: 50 Hz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: 30 min. every 2 hr during 5 days
Exposure 3: 890–915 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous for 6 min./day for 5 days
not modulated (non-speaking mode)
Exposure 4: 890–915 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: 6 min./day on 5 days
modulated (speaking mode)
Exposure 5: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 48 hr
Exposure 6:
Exposure duration: continuous for 48 hr

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Waveform
Exposure duration continuous for 5 days
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup glass tubes with flies placed in the center of the coil's air-core
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 7 mT effective value calculated - -
electric field strength 10 V/m - calculated - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 30 min. every 2 hr during 5 days
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Pulse width 0.5 ms
Repetition frequency 50 Hz
Pulse type biphasic
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • capacitor
Setup glass tubes with flies placed in the center of the capacitor
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 4 kV/cm - - - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency 890–915 MHz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 6 min./day for 5 days
Additional info not modulated (non-speaking mode)
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Repetition frequency 216.7 Hz
Additional info

GMSK modulation

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup mobile phone in direct contact with the glass tube containing the flies
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.037 mW/cm² average over time measured - +/- 0.007 mW/cm²
electric field strength 11.8 V/m - calculated - -
magnetic flux density 0.04 µT - calculated - -

Exposure 4

Main characteristics
Frequency 890–915 MHz
Type
Exposure duration 6 min./day on 5 days
Additional info modulated (speaking mode)
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Repetition frequency 216.7 Hz
Additional info

GMSK modulation

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup mobile phone in direct contact with the galss tube containing the flies
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.618 mW/cm² average over time measured - +/- 0.07 mW/cm²
electric field strength 48.3 V/m - calculated - -
magnetic flux density 0.16 µT - calculated - -

Exposure 5

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 48 hr
Additional info co-exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • not specified
Setup EMF exposure + heat shock (30°C)
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 2.83 mT - - - -

Exposure 6

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 48 hr
Additional info co-exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • not specified
Setup co-exposure to heat shock (30°C)
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 3.75 mT - - - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data showed a) a small but statistically significant decrease (6%) of the reproductive capacity following exposure to the alternating magnetic field, b) a large increase of the reproductive capacity (40%) following exposure to the pulsed electric field and c) a dramatic decrease of the reproductive capacity (15-20% for the non-modulated field and 50-60% for the modulated field) following exposure to the GSM electromagnetic field.
Co-exposure experiments induced malformations to a small percentage (about 5%) of eggs of different developmental stages, in the ovaries of the female flies. Malformations were not found in the control insects that were exposed only to thermal stress, neither in insects that were exposed to a combination of static magnetic field and thermal stress (30°C).
In conclusion, the data showed that radiofrequency electromagnetic irradiation, and especially GSM mobile phone exposure at 900 MHz, is highly bioactive, causing significant alterations in the physiological function of living organisms.

Study character:

Study funded by

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