Investigations of low magnetic field (LMF) effects on biological systems have attracted attention of biologists due to planned space flights to other planets where the field intensity does not exceed 10(-5) Oe. Pea (Pisum sativum L.) seeds were grown in an environment of LMF 3 days. In meristem cells of roots exposed to LMF, one could observe such ultrastructural peculiarities as a noticeable accumulation of lipid bodies, development of a lytic compartment (vacuoles, cytosegresomes and paramural bodies), and reduction of phytoferritin in plastids. Mitochondria were the most sensitive organelle to LMF application. Their size and relative volume in cells increased, matrix was electron-transparent, and cristae reduced. Because of the significant role of calcium signalling in plant responses to different environmental factors, calcium participation in LMF effects was investigated using a pyroantimonate method to identify the localization of free calcium ions. The intensity of cytochemical reaction in root cells after LMF application was strong. The Ca2+ pyroantimonate deposits were observed both in all organelles and in a hyaloplasm of the cells. Data obtained suggest that the observed LMF effects on ultrastructure of root cells were due to disruptions in different metabolic systems including effects on Ca2+ homeostasis.
c2001 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.