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Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants.

Published in: J Plant Physiol 2014; 171 (15): 1436-1443

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The effects of exposure of different aromatic plants to an electromagnetic field of 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz (WiFi or GSM) on leaf anatomy as well as etheric oil content and volatile emissions as markers of stress should be investigated.
Background/further details: Three sorts of aromatic plants were cultivated and divided into three groups: 1) exposure to a 900 MHz GSM signal, 2) exposure to a 2.4 GHz WiFi signal and 3) control group without exposure.
For all investigations, 8 of 15 cultivated plants from each sort and group were used.


  • effects on plants: leaf anatomy, etheric oil content and volatile emissions


Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 860–910 MHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 3 weeks
Exposure 2: 2.412–2.48 GHz
Exposure duration: continuous for 3 weeks
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 860–910 MHz
Exposure duration continuous for 3 weeks
Additional info GSM
Additional info operating in four bands, power out 29 dBm, signal generated by modified AP5200 generator (D-LINK, China)
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup 15 plants were placed in chamber with a degree of isolation of 60 dB; temperature was maintained at 25°C and humidity at 65%; antenna was placed in the center of the ceiling
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 100 mW/m² - measured - -
Exposure 2
Main characteristics
Frequency 2.412–2.48 GHz
Exposure duration continuous for 3 weeks
Additional info WLAN
Additional info signal generated by D-LINK wireless router 802.11 g/2.4 GHz, power out 19 dBm
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 70 mW/m² - measured - -
Exposed system:
  • plant
  • parsley (Petroselinum crispum), dill (Anethum graveolens), celery (Apium graveolens)
  • whole body

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

In palisade cells from exposed plants (groups 1 and 2), the thickness of the cell walls and length and area of chloroplasts and mitochondria were decreased compared to plants of the control group, with WiFi-exposed plants (group 2) showing the most enhanced effects (remark EMF-Portal: numbers of investigated organelles not stated and significance of the results not clear).
Both photosynthetic parameters were significantly decreased in exposed plants compared to the control group, and in dill and celery plants, WiFi exposure showed significantly reduced values compared to GSM exposure (group 1).
The content of etheric oils was significantly changed in both exposure groups compared to the control group. However, only GSM exposed plants showed a consistent trend with increased values.The emission rates of etheric oils showed significantly different values for both exposure groups compared to the control group as well. Here, a trend towards increased values was observed in both groups with the highest values found in WiFi exposed plants. However, specific marker oils for stress were only found scarcely, but increased emission of physiological etheric oils can be an indicator for stress as well.
The authors conclude that exposure of different aromatic plants to an electromagnetic field of 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz (WiFi or GSM) could influence leaf anatomy as well as the etheric oil content and volatile emissions, what might be an indication for stress. WiFi seems to have a stronger effect than GSM in this context.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • European Union (EU)/European Commission
  • National Council of University Scientific Research, Romania
  • Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) - National Authority for Scientific Research, Romania
  • Ministry of Education and Research, Republic of Estonia

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