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Pazur, Alexander und Rassadina, Valentina: Transient effect of weak electromagnetic fields on calcium ion concentration in Arabidopsis thaliana. In: BMC Plant Biology 2009, 9:47




Background: Weak magnetic and electromagnetic fields can influence physiological processes in animals, plants and microorganisms, but the underlying way of perception is poorly understood. The ion cyclotron resonance is one of the discussed mechanisms, predicting biological effects for definite frequencies and intensities of electromagnetic fields possibly by affecting the physiological availability of small ions. Above all an influence on Calcium, which is crucial for many life processes, is in the focus of interest. We show that in Arabidopsis thaliana, changes in Ca(2+)-concentrations can be induced by combinations of magnetic and electromagnetic fields that match Ca(2+)-ion cyclotron resonance conditions. Results: An aequorin expressing Arabidopsis thaliana mutant (Col0-1 Aeq Cy+) was subjected to a magnetic field around 65 microtesla (0.65 Gauss) and an electromagnetic field with the corresponding Ca(2+) cyclotron frequency of 50 Hz. The resulting changes in free Ca(2+) were monitored by aequorin bioluminescence, using a high sensitive photomultiplier unit. The experiments were referenced by the additional use of wild type plants. Transient increases of cytosolic Ca(2+) were observed both after switching the electromagnetic field on and off, with the latter effect decreasing with increasing duration of the electromagnetic impact. Compared with this the uninfluenced long-term loss of bioluminescence activity without any exogenic impact was negligible. The magnetic field effect rapidly decreased if ion cyclotron resonance conditions were mismatched by varying the magnetic fieldstrength, also a dependence on the amplitude of the electromagnetic component was seen. Conclusion: Considering the various functions of Ca(2+) as a second messenger in plants, this mechanism may be relevant for perception of these combined fields. The applicability of recently hypothesized mechanisms for the ion cyclotron resonance effect in biological systems is discussed considering it's operating at magnetic field strengths weak enough, to occur occasionally in our all day environment.