Publication Details

Nguyen, T., Shamis, Y., Croft, R. J., Wood, A., McIntosh, R. L., Crawford, R. J. & Ivanova, E. P. (2015). 18 GHz electromagnetic field induces permeability of Gram-positive cocci. Scientific Reports, 5 10980-1 - 10980-12.


The effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures at the microwave (MW) frequency of 18 GHz, on four cocci, Planococcus maritimus KMM 3738, Staphylococcus aureus CIP 65.8T, S. aureus ATCC 25923 and S. epidermidis ATCC 14990T, was investigated. We demonstrate that exposing the bacteria to an EMF induced permeability in the bacterial membranes of all strains studied, as confirmed directly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and indirectly via the propidium iodide assay and the uptake of silica nanospheres. The cells remained permeable for at least nine minutes after EMF exposure. It was shown that all strains internalized 23.5 nm nanospheres, whereas the internalization of the 46.3 nm nanospheres differed amongst the bacterial strains (S. epidermidis ATCC 14990T~ 0%; Staphylococcus aureus CIP 65.8T S. aureus ATCC 25923, ~40%; Planococcus maritimus KMM 3738, ~80%). Cell viability experiments indicated that up to 84% of the cells exposed to the EMF remained viable. The morphology of the bacterial cells was not altered, as inferred from the scanning electron micrographs, however traces of leaked cytosolic fluids from the EMF exposed cells could be detected. EMF-induced permeabilization may represent an innovative, alternative cell permeability technique for applications in biomedical engineering, cell drug delivery and gene therapy.



Link to publisher version (DOI)