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Stimulation of germination in rice (Oryza sativa L.) by a static magnetic field

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Mercedes Florez Garcia, Ph.D. lngeniero Agr6nomo. Profesor Departamento Ffsica y Mecanica,

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid-Espana.


Elvira Martinez Ramirez, Ph.D. Ciencias Qufmicas. Profesor Titular Departamento Ffsica y Mecanica,

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid-Espana.

Maria Victoria Carbonell Padrino, Ph.D. lngeniero Agr6nomo. Profesor Titular Departamento Ffsica y Mecanica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid-Espana. [email protected]

The objective of the present study is to determine and quantify the effect produced by a stationary magnetic field in germination of patrense seeds (Festuca arundinacea and Medicago sativa, L). Seeds were exposed to 250 mT during different periods of time: 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour, 24 hours or in a chronic way, doses (81-85). Parameters used were average germination time (AGT) and the necessary time for germination of 1, 10, 25, 50 and 75% of seeds (TT /

According to results obtained with alfalfa seeds, it can be said that the AGT is significant less in seeds exposed to the magnetic field (20,40 hr for 85, 20, 88 for 84, 21,36 for 82 vs 25.68 hr for the control group). Control T75 was

30,24 h while in treated seeds it was significant less: 22,32 hr, 23,76 hr, 24,48 hr, 24,72 hr, and 24,96 h for the

85- 81 dose respectively.

For festuca a reduction in AGT for treated seeds can be observed in comparison to the control group. T25 for the control group was 50, 16 hr while for treated seeds it was 48,00h for 84 and 47,28 hr for 85. The rest of the parameters evaluated were also less. In consequence, the reduction in the parameters evaluated implies that the germination speed is greater.


Germination speed, magnetic treatment, pratense seeds, Medicago saliva L, festuca, Festuca arundinaces, precocity


El objetivo de este estudio es determinar y cuantificar el efecto de un campo magnetico estacionario en la germinaci6n de semillas patrenses (Festuca arundinacea Medicago saliva, L.). Las semillas fueron expuestas a 250 mT durante distintos periodos de tiempo: 10 minu­ tos, 20 minutos, 1 hora, 24 horas 6 de forma cr6nica, dosis (81-85). Los parametros utilizados fueron de tiempo medio de germinaci6n (TMG) y los tiempos necesarios para que germinen el 1, 10, 25, 50 y 75% de semillas (T1-T75) .

De los resultados obtenidos con semillas de alfalfa se desprende que el TMG fue significativamente menor en las semillas expuestas a campo magnetico (20,40 hr para 85, 20,88 hr para 84, 21,36 hr para 82 vs. 25,68 hr para el control). El T75 del control fue 30,24 hr mientras que en las semillas tratadas fue significativamente me­ nor: 22,32 hr, 23,76 hr, 24,48 hr, 24,72 hr y 24,96 hr para

las dosis 85 – 81 respectivamente.

En las semillas de festuca se destaca la reducci6n en el TMG obtenido para las semillas tratadas frente al control. El T25 del grupo control fue 50, 16 hr mientras que para las semillas tratadas se obtuvo 48,00 hr, para 84 y

    1. hr para 85. Los demas parametros evaluados tambien resultaron menores. En consecuencia, la re­ ducci6n en los parametros evaluados implica que la velocidad de germinaci6n es mayor.


Velocidad de germinaci6n, tratamiento magnetico, se­ millas pratenses, alfalfa, Medicago sativa, L., festuca, Festuca arundinacea, precocidad


The influence of magnetic fields on the behavior of living systems has been studied for a long time but the effects on plants have been studied only since the last decades, still the mechanism of action of magnetic field on plants are not well known.

Physical techniques based on the application of magnetic fields, are being developed in Agriculture. A systematic and extensive study is necessary to locate the mechanisms of magnetic action in vegetal tissues and identify its useful application. Beneficial effects of magnetic fields on different crops and yields have been reported. An increase of crops of different species subjected to magnetic field has been found. Some scientists have tried to determine some effects of the magnetic field on roots, such as changes of the biochemical activity, curvature and magnetotropism. Greater albumin, gluten and starch contents in wheat seeds exposed to magnetic field were obtained by Pietruszweski (1996). Aladjadjiyan (2002) detected that exposure to a 150 mT magnetic field stimulated shoot development and led to increase of the germination, fresh weight and shoot length of maize plants. Yano et al. (2002) observed the induction of primary root curvature in radish seedlings in a static magnetic field. The roots responded tropically to the static magnetic field, with the tropism appearing to be negative, these roots responded significantly to the south pole of the magnet. Recently, Yinan et al. (2005) published that the magnetic field pretreatment had a positive effect on cucumber seedlings, such as stimulating seedling growth and development.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect on the germination of grass seeds (Festuca arundinacea and Medicago sativa,L.) of magnetic treatment by exposing the seeds to 250 mT magnetic field for different periods of time. In previous studies, the authors have found that magnetic treatment produces a biostimulation on the initial growth stages and an early sprouting of several seeds (Carbonell et al., 2000; Martinez et al., 2000, 2002; Florez et al, 2004, 2007).


The grass seeds used were Festuca arundinacea and

three times per day for the time necessary to achieve the final maximum percentage of germinated seeds (GmaJ Seeds were considered as germinated when their radicle was at least 2 mm long. The rate of germination was assessed by determining the mean germination time (MGT) and time required to germinate 1, 10, 2S, SO and

Medicago sativa,L., which had high viability and

homogeneity. Germination tests were carried out to

7S% of seeds (parameters T1

Germination curves were


, T25

, T50

and T ).

study the effect of the exposure of grass seeds to stationary magnetic fields. Test was performed under laboratory conditions with natural light and the temperature average was 20 ± 2°C. Test was used in order to determine the effect on the germination rate of seeds and select the best magnetic doses which provide a germination rate significantly greater than the control.

Magnetic treatment of seeds was provided as different doses, B1 to BS by varying the exposure time (t). The static magnetic field was generated by permanent ring magnets with 2SO mT strength. Geometrical characteristics of the ring magnet are external diameter 7 .S cm, internal diameter 3 cm, and height 1.S cm. Analogous rings like the ring magnets, manufactured with the same material but without magnetic induction were used as blind (Control). Magnetic treatments applied were obtained by exposing the seeds to magnetic field for 1O min, 20 min, 1 h, 24 h or chronic exposure. An experimental design using four replicates (n=4), with 2S seeds in each one was carried out. Thus, groups of 100 seeds were subjected to each magnetic treatment, and analogous groups were used as control.

The germination test was performed according to the guidelines issued by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA Rules, 1999) with slight modifications. Seeds were germinated by placing 2S seeds per Petri dish on filter papers soaked with 12 ml of distilled water. The seeds were placed around a circular line; in this way, all the seeds were subjected to the same magnetic field strength, when the Petri dish is placed on top of a permanent magnet. To obtain dose BS Petri dishes were placed onto the magnets for all the experimental time, then the seeds were chronically exposed. To obtain the other doses the Petri dishes were placed onto the magnets for the corresponding time 1O min (B1), 20 min (B2), 1 h (B3), and 24 h (B4). After that, they were placed on a blind-ring without magnetic induction. The control

plotted for each treatment

using the Seedcalculator software developed for seed germination data analysis by Plant Research International.

Statistical analysis. Data of germination obtained for the magnetic treatments were compared by the t-student valued and the p-values were calculated to test for significant differences between each treatment and the control using the Seedcalculator software for seeds germination data analysis.

TAbla 1. Magnetic Treatment applied for 250 mT (E1-E5), and control (C).

Exposure Time Magnetic Treatment (8) 8=250 mT
o (Control) c
10 minutes 81
20 minutes 82
1 hour 83
24 hours 84
Chronic Ex oosure 85

Table 2 shows the germination parameters calculated for tall fescue and alfalfa seeds, respectively. Germination data corresponding to all the doses were analyzed and the cumulative curves were plotted, but in this paper only the curves of the doses which provided the greatest differences versus control are presented. Results show that the mean germination time (MGT) of tall fescue seeds was significantly reduced when seeds were exposed to magnetic field. The greatest differences between treated seeds and control were obtained when seeds were treated for 24 h and chronically exposed (S3.28 h for B4, S3.S2 h for BS vs. S7.84 for control). In addition, most of parameters were also reduced, i.e. T

group of Petri dishes was located on blind-rings right from

of seeds not exposed to magnetic field was S0.16 h



the beginning; then, the seeds were not exposed to

magnetic field.

Experimental groups B1-BS and control C ran simultaneously for the germination test. For each treatment the number of germinated seeds was registered

this value was significantly reduced for B4 (48.00 h) and BS (47.28 h); similar reductions were obtained for the other parameters, in consequence the germination rate of seeds chronically exposed was increased.

Data obtained for alfalfa seeds (Medicago sativa, L) shows that MGT was significantly reduced compared to control when seeds were exposed to magnetic field (20,40 hr for 85, 20,88 hr for 84, 21,36 hr for 82 vs. 25,68 hr for control). The time taken for 75% of the control

seeds to germinate (T7 was 30,24 hr while the T75 of treated seeds were significantly reduced, i.e.22.32 h for

Cumulative germination curves of Medicago sativa seeds subjected to 250 mT stationary magnetic field for 24 hour (84), chronically exposure (85) and control curve are plotted in figure 2a and 2b.

24,96 hr for 81. It is remarkable that parameters T



minutes (81); these values are 29,04 hr vs. 37,92 hr and

40,56 vs. 45.12 hr, therefore, the onset of germination of alfalfa treated seeds started earlier than the control.

Cumulative germination curves of tall fescue seeds subjected to 250 mT stationary magnetic field for 24 hour (84), chronically exposure (BS) and control curve are presented in Figure, 1a and 1b.

Figure 2. Germination curves of alfalfa seeds.

Figure 1. Germination curves of tall fescue seeds.

In all cases, the germination curve of control is underneath the curves of treated seeds, then, control germination rate is lower than the corresponding to magnetic doses. Results obtained for grass seeds are according with other studies about the influence of a stationary magnetic field on several seed germination and plant growth which reveal that magnetic treatment produces: an improvement

of percentage and rate of germination of exposed seeds (Carbonell et al.). A biostimulation on the initial growth stages of barley and wheat have been found by Martinez et al. (2000, 2002). An early sprouting and first stages of growth of treated rice plants have been publish by Florez et al. (2004); results obtained showed increases in germination rate and plant weight and length greater when seeds were subjected to magnetic treatment than their controls. Podlesni et al. (2004) confirmed the positive effect of the magnetic treatment on the germination and emergence of bean cultivars; plant emergence from magnetized seeds was 2-3 days earlier compared to the control, the yield was increased due to the higher number of pods per plant. Racuciu et al. (2006) reported that the length of young plants of maize exposed to a magnetic field varying from 50 to 250 mT, were higher than control for all exposed samples.

Legend of table 2: C (Control), 81 (10 min.), 82 (20 min),

83 (1hour), 84 (24 hour), 85 (chronic exposure), Gmax: number of germinated seeds (%); T 1 , T 10, T25, T50 and T75 : time needed to obtain 1, 10, 25, 50 and 75 % of

germination; MGT: mean germination time. Asterisks indicate significant differences vs. control: **** (p<0.001) very strongly significant; strongly significant

***(0.001 <p<0.01); significant **(p<0.05).

Table 2. Germination parameters for grass seeds exposed to a stationary magnetic field, expressed as mean and standard error.

SAA-ii Magnetic Treatme nt250 ml L L.o h Lo Tu Mfil
(%) ix ± SE hmul I I
EH1Ji1dl. 87±3,42 37,92±3,36 45,12±1 ,20 50,16±0,72 57,36±1 ,44 69,12±3,12 57,84±0,24
r.-i 89±1 ,91 29.04″±2,16 40,56″‘±1 ,20 47,76″±0,96 56,40±0,96 66,72±1 ,92 54,72″‘±0,72
BZ 85 34,56 42,24″ 47.52″‘ 54,24 64,80 53,28″
±3,00 ±1 ,92 ±0,48 ±0,96 ±1 ,92 ±3,12 ±1 ,44
il.UJ.ndina il B’.I 81±1 ,91 35,04±3,60 43,44±1 ,92 48,96±0,96 56,16±0,96 68,16±5,28 54,00″”±0,24
B-1 85±4,3 35,52±3,60 42,96±1 ,20 48,00″‘±0,24 54,24±0,96 63,846±3,36 53,28″”±0,24
B 83±1 ,91 37,66±2,16 42,76±1 ,20 47,28″”±0, 24 52,56″‘±0,72 58,80″‘±1 ,92 53,52″”±0,24
r111e 1ic110 90±2,58 15,84±0,96 18,72±0,72 20,88±0,48 24,00±0,24 30,24±1 ,44 25,68±0,96
B”I 90±1 ,15 16.08±0,72 18,24±0,48 19,68″±0,48 21 ,60″”±0,72 24,96′”‘±0,72 22,32′”±0,72
BZ 89±1 ,91 15.12±0,72 1 ,7.52”±0,24 19,20′”±0,24 21 ,60″”±0,48 24,72′”‘±0,72 21 ,36″”±0,48
s<1tir<1 B’.I 90±2,58 16.56±0,72 18,00±,48 1 ,20″‘±0,24 20,88′”‘±0,72 24,48′”±2,40 22,32″‘±1 ,20
B-1 90±2,00 14.88±0.72,84 17,28”’±0,24 18,96″”±0,24 20,88″”±4,80 23,76″”±1 ,20 20,88″”±0,72
B 93±1 91 15.12±0 48 16,80″‘±0 24 18,00″”+O 24 19,68′”‘+O 24 22,32″”+O 48 20,40″”+O 72

For both studied seeds (Festuca arundinacea and Medicago sativa, L) the mean germination time (TMG) and parameters T1-T75 were reduced for all magnetic doses applied, then, germination rate of treated seeds is higher than the control. In summary, stationary magnetic field could be used as a physical technique to improve the germination of grass seeds.


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