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The effects of magnetic fields on biological systems have been studied for several decades. Some studies have shown that the magnetic fields produced by electrical power lines may have negative effects on living organisms. Yet these studies remain inconclusive, the mechanisms of interaction of magnetic fields with biological systems are unknown. In this study we are examining the effect of static and oscillating magnetic fields on prokaryotic development. Myxococcus xanthus is a Gram negative, spore-forming, slime bacteria. When starved, M. xanthus cells come together to form multicellular aggregates that subsequently become fruiting bodies. Therefore, M. xanthus provides a model system to analyze the effect of magnetic field on cellular differentiation. This present study examines the development of bacteria under a static model, where the magnetic fields remain constant, as well as an oscillating model integrated at 60 Hz. M. xanthus cells were placed on starvation media and then incubated in a custom-built solenoid coil for 72 hours at 32°C. The subsequent effects of the fields on fruiting body formation were analyzed by observing the bacterial development in six-hour intervals. The field strength started at 1.5mT and was increased by increments of 0.5mT. The results up to 3.0 mT have not shown any effect in fruiting body formation using the static model, while the alternating model also shows no change in spore development at 1.5 mT. Further tests are being done to look at higher field strengths and their effects on M. xanthus.

Keywords: magnetic, field, effect, M. xanthus, fruiting, static, alternating, bacteria


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
19 Jul 2022
3.78 MB



  • Subject
    • Biology

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Floor

  • Event date
    • 22 March 2019

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Swapna Bhat; Hoang Pham; Al Walters