Low-amplitude, high-frequency electromagnetic field exposure causes delayed and reduced growth in Rosa hybrida

J Plant Physiol. 2016 Jan 15:190:44-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2015.11.004. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


It is now accepted that plants perceive high-frequency electromagnetic field (HF-EMF). We wondered if the HF-EMF signal is integrated further in planta as a chain of reactions leading to a modification of plant growth. We exposed whole small ligneous plants (rose bush) whose growth could be studied for several weeks. We performed exposures at two different development stages (rooted cuttings bearing an axillary bud and 5-leaf stage plants), using two high frequency (900MHz) field amplitudes (5 and 200Vm(-1)). We achieved a tight control on the experimental conditions using a state-of-the-art stimulation device (Mode Stirred Reverberation Chamber) and specialized culture-chambers. After the exposure, we followed the shoot growth for over a one-month period. We observed no growth modification whatsoever exposure was performed on the 5-leaf stage plants. When the exposure was performed on the rooted cuttings, no growth modification was observed on Axis I (produced from the elongation of the axillary bud). Likewise, no significant modification was noted on Axis II produced at the base of Axis I, that came from pre-formed secondary axillary buds. In contrast, Axis II produced at the top of Axis I, that came from post-formed secondary buds consistently displayed a delayed and significant reduced growth (45%). The measurements of plant energy uptake from HF-EMF in this exposure condition (SAR of 7.2 10(-4)Wkg(-1)) indicated that this biological response is likely not due to thermal effect. These results suggest that exposure to electromagnetic field only affected development of post-formed organs.

Keywords: Electromagnetic field; Growth; Rosa hybrida; Specific Absorption Rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Plant Stems / growth & development
  • Plant Stems / physiology
  • Rosa / growth & development
  • Rosa / physiology*