One-time Electromagnetic Irradiation Modifies Stress-sensitive Gene Expressions in Rice Plant

Bioelectromagnetics. 2021 Sep 24. doi: 10.1002/bem.22374. Online ahead of print.


Electromagnetic energy is utilized over multiple frequency bands to provide seamless wireless communication services. Plants can well perceive electromagnetic energy present in open environment due to reasonably high permittivity and electrical conductivity of constituent tissues. Moreover, higher surface-to-volume ratio of plant structure facilitates increased interaction with the incident electromagnetic waves. To date, a few well-designed studies have been conducted inside controlled electromagnetic reverberation chambers to investigate either short duration-low amplitude or long duration-periodic electromagnetic irradiation-induced molecular responses in plants. However, as far as is known, studies investigating molecular responses particularly at the mid-vegetative stage in plants following one-time (hours-long) electromagnetic irradiation have not been reported earlier. Hence, the present study aimed at investigating molecular responses in 40-day-old Swarnaprabha rice plants following one-time 1837.50 MHz, 2.75 mW/m2 electromagnetic irradiation of 2 h 30 min duration. Controlled electromagnetic irradiation inside a simple reverberation chamber was ensured to achieve pure electromagnetic environment at 1837.50 MHz with deterministic electromagnetic power density at selected position. Swarnaprabha rice plant was chosen for this investigation since the rice variety is widely cultivated and consumed in the Indian subcontinent. Subsequent alterations in some selected stress-sensitive gene expressions were assayed using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction technique-significant upregulation in calmodulin and phytochrome B gene expressions were noted. This investigation was purposefully focused on subsequent molecular responses immediately following electromagnetic irradiation so that the possible effects of secondary stimulations could be avoided. Observed molecular responses strongly suggested that plants perceive 1837.50 MHz, 2.75 mW/m2 electromagnetic irradiation similar to other injurious stimuli. © 2021 Bioelectromagnetics Society.

Keywords: abiotic stress; electromagnetic radiation; electromagnetic reverberation chamber; gene expression; rice.