During the last couple of decades, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of cell phones. It has significantly added to the rapidly increasing EMF smog, an unprecedented type of pollution consisting of radiation in the environment, thereby prompting the scientists to study the effects on humans. However, not many studies have been conducted to explore the effects of cell phone EMFr on growth and biochemical changes in plants. We investigated whether EMFr from cell phones inhibit growth of Vigna radiata (mung bean) through induction of conventional stress responses. Effects of cell phone EMFr (power density: 8.55 microW cm(-2); 900 MHz band width; for 1/2, 1, 2, and 4 h) were determined by measuring the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in terms of malondialdehyde and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) content, root oxidizability and changes in levels of antioxidant enzymes. Our results showed that cell phone EMFr significantly inhibited the germination (at > or =2 h), and radicle and plumule growths (> or =1 h) in mung bean in a time-dependent manner. Further, cell phone EMFr enhanced MDA content (indicating lipid peroxidation), and increased H(2)O(2) accumulation and root oxidizability in mung bean roots, thereby inducing oxidative stress and cellular damage. In response to EMFr, there was a significant upregulation in the activities of scavenging enzymes, such as superoxide dismutases, ascorbate peroxidases, guaiacol peroxidases, catalases and glutathione reductases, in mung bean roots. The study concluded that cell phone EMFr inhibit root growth of mung bean by inducing ROS-generated oxidative stress despite increased activities of antioxidant enzymes.