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The biological effect of 2.45 GHz microwaves on the viability and permeability of bacterial and yeast cells

Ahortor, Evans K. ORCID:, Malyshev, Dmitry, Williams, Catrin F. ORCID:, Choi, Heungjae ORCID:, Lees, Jonathan ORCID:, Porch, Adrian ORCID: and Baillie, Les ORCID: 2020. The biological effect of 2.45 GHz microwaves on the viability and permeability of bacterial and yeast cells. Journal of Applied Physics 127 (204902) , IMPORTED. 10.1063/1.5145009

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Microwaves are a form of non-ionizing radiation composed of electric (E) and magnetic (H) fields and are absorbed by biological tissues with a high water content. Our study investigated the effect of the E field, H field, and a combination of both (E + H) field’s exposure of structurally diverse micro-organisms, at a frequency of 2.45 GHz. We observed that the exposure to a microwave E field of an amplitude of 9.3 kV/m had no significant effect on cell viability; however, it did increase membrane permeability of Mycobacterium smegmatis to propidium iodide and to a range of different sized dextran particles in Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and M. smegmatis. The permeability of propidium iodide was observed in microwave treated cells (M. smegmatis) but not in heat-treated cells. Permeability of 3 kDa sized fluorescently labeled dextrans was observed across all cell types; however, this was found not to be the case for larger 70 kDa dextran particles. In terms of efflux, DNA was detected following E field exposure of M. smegmatis. In contrast, H field exposure had no effect on cell viability and did not contribute to increase cell’s membrane to dextran particles. In conclusion, this study shows that microwave generated E fields can temporarily disrupt membrane integrity without detrimentally impacting on cell viability. This approach has the potential to be developed as a high efficiency electropermeabilization method and as a means of releasing host DNA to support diagnostic applications.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Publisher: AIP Publishing
ISSN: 0021-8979
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 27 May 2020
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 20:25

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