Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

GSM 900 MHz radiation inhibits ants' association between food sites and encountered cues med./bio.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2012; 31 (2): 151-165

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To examine the effect of GSM 900 MHz exposure on the ants' association between food sites and olfactory and visual cues.

Background/further details

Six ant colonies were exposed for 102 hours days at GSM 900 MHz and simultaneously conditioned to an olfactory stimulus (fennel). After a break of exposure for 36 h the colonies were again exposed for six days and the ants were simultaneously conditioned to a visual stimulus (green hollow cube). Again the exposure was stopped for 30 hours. Then, the ants were trained to an olfactory stimulus without exposure for five days. Afterwards, the colonies were exposed for 36 hours, followed by a break of exposure of 30 hours. Finally, the colonies were trained to a visual stimulus without exposure for seven days and afterwards exposed for two days.
The ants were tested during exposure, after a recovery period and again under exposure.
Physiological condition was observed, but not quantified.
The behaviour under normal conditions was described in a previous study. No sham exposed colonies were trained and tested in this study.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: see add. information

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure duration see add. information
Additional info horizontally polarized
Modulation type pulsed
Additional info


Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup two omni-patch antennae with a gain of 1.6, each radiating the field over three nests
Additional info exposure time pattern: 4.5 days on, 1.5 days off, 6 days on, 30 h off + 5 days training without EMF, 1.5 days on, 30 h off + 7 days training without EMF, 2 days on
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 10 mW - - - 10 dBm
power density 0.795 mW/m² - - - -
electric field strength 1 V/m - calculated - over each nest

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The exposed ants showed deficiencies in the ability of the association between food sites and encountered cues in comparison to never exposed ants: Exposed ants failed to acquire the ability of associating olfactory or visual stimuli and food. After exposure and a 30 h recovery period, the ants were able to make this association, but never reached the score of unexposed ants. When these ants were exposed and trained at the same time, they lost the learned association between food and olfactory or visual clues, even more rapidly than never exposed ants. The effect of exposure to GSM 9000 MHz was greater on the visual memory than the olfactory one.
Additionally, the authors observed that the physiological constitution of exposed colonies showed deficiencies in the movement of the workers, the feeding frequency and the development of the brood in comparison to those never exposed.

Study character:

Study funded by

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