Effects of 60 Hz electromagnetic fields on early growth in three plant species and a replication of previous results

Bioelectromagnetics. 1996;17(2):154-61. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-186X(1996)17:2<154::AID-BEM10>3.0.CO;2-S.


In an attempt to replicate the findings of Smith et al., seeds of Raphanus sativus L. (radish), Sinapsis alba L. (mustard), and Hordeum vulgare L. (barley) were grown for between 9 and 21 days in continuous electromagnetic fields (EMFs) at "ion-cyclotron resonance" conditions for stimulation of Ca(2+) (B(H) = 78.3 mu T, B(HAC) = 40 mu T peak-peak at 60 Hz, B(V) = 0). On harvesting, radish showed results similar to those of Smith et al. Dry stem weight and plant height were both significantly greater (Mann-Whitney tests, Ps < 0.05) in EMF-exposed plants than in control plants in each EMF experiment. Wet root weight was significantly greater in EMF-exposed plants in two out of three experiments, as were dry leaf weight, dry whole weight, and stem diameter. Dry root weight, wet leaf weight, and wet whole weight were significantly greater in EMF-exposed plants in one of three experiments. All significant differences indicated an increase in weight or size in the EMF-exposed plants. In each of the sham experiments, no differences between exposed and control plants were evident. Mustard plants failed to respond to the EMFs in any of the plant parameters measured. In one experiment, barley similarly failed to respond; but in another showed significantly greater wet root weight and significantly smaller stem diameter and dry seed weight at the end of the experiment in exposed plants compared to control plants. Although these results give no clue about the underlying bioelectromagnetic mechanism, they demonstrate that, at least for one EMF-sensitive biosystem, results can be independently replicated in another laboratory. Such replication is crucial in establishing the validity of bioelectromagnetic science.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Plant Development*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Seeds / growth & development