Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1830262, 13 pages
Review Article

Plant Responses to High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields

1Université d’Angers, Campus du Végétal, UMR 1345 IRHS, CS 60057, SFR 4207 QUASAV, 49071 Beaucouzé Cedex, France
2Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 7612, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
3Université Blaise Pascal, 24 avenue des Landais, 63177 Aubière Cedex, France
4Institut Pascal, Université Blaise Pascal, BP 10448, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
5CNRS, UMR 6602, 63171 Aubière, France

Received 25 November 2015; Accepted 17 January 2016

Academic Editor: Yan-Bo Hu

Copyright © 2016 Alain Vian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


High frequency nonionizing electromagnetic fields (HF-EMF) that are increasingly present in the environment constitute a genuine environmental stimulus able to evoke specific responses in plants that share many similarities with those observed after a stressful treatment. Plants constitute an outstanding model to study such interactions since their architecture (high surface area to volume ratio) optimizes their interaction with the environment. In the present review, after identifying the main exposure devices (transverse and gigahertz electromagnetic cells, wave guide, and mode stirred reverberating chamber) and general physics laws that govern EMF interactions with plants, we illustrate some of the observed responses after exposure to HF-EMF at the cellular, molecular, and whole plant scale. Indeed, numerous metabolic activities (reactive oxygen species metabolism, α- and β-amylase, Krebs cycle, pentose phosphate pathway, chlorophyll content, terpene emission, etc.) are modified, gene expression altered (calmodulin, calcium-dependent protein kinase, and proteinase inhibitor), and growth reduced (stem elongation and dry weight) after low power (i.e., nonthermal) HF-EMF exposure. These changes occur not only in the tissues directly exposed but also systemically in distant tissues. While the long-term impact of these metabolic changes remains largely unknown, we propose to consider nonionizing HF-EMF radiation as a noninjurious, genuine environmental factor that readily evokes changes in plant metabolism.