Exposure to 915 MHz radiation induces micronuclei in Vicia faba root tips

Mutagenesis. 2016 Mar;31(2):187-92. doi: 10.1093/mutage/gev071. Epub 2015 Oct 17.


The increasing use of mobile phones and wireless networks raised a great debate about the real carcinogenic potential of radiofrequency-electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure associated with these devices. Conflicting results are reported by the great majority of in vivo and in vitro studies on the capability of RF-EMF exposure to induce DNA damage and mutations in mammalian systems. Aimed at understanding whether less ambiguous responses to RF-EMF exposure might be evidenced in plant systems with respect to mammalian ones, in the present work the mutagenic effect of RF-EMF has been studied through the micronucleus (MN) test in secondary roots of Vicia faba seedlings exposed to mobile phone transmission in controlled conditions, inside a transverse electro magnetic (TEM) cell. Exposure of roots was carried out for 72h using a continuous wave (CW) of 915 MHz radiation at three values of equivalent plane wave power densities (23, 35 and 46W/m(2)). The specific absorption rate (SAR) was measured with a calorimetric method and the corresponding values were found to fall in the range of 0.4-1.5W/kg. Results of three independent experiments show the induction of a significant increase of MN frequency after exposure, ranging from a 2.3-fold increase above the sham value, at the lowest SAR level, up to a 7-fold increase at the highest SAR. These findings are in agreement with the limited number of data on cytogenetic effects detected in other plant systems exposed to mobile phone RF-EMF frequencies and clearly show the capability of radiofrequency exposure to induce DNA damage in this eukaryotic cell system.

MeSH terms

  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / radiation effects*
  • Micronucleus Tests*
  • Plant Roots / genetics*
  • Plant Roots / radiation effects*
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Vicia faba / genetics*
  • Vicia faba / radiation effects*