Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field in Onion Root Tip Cells and Mouse Polychromatic Erythrocytes

Document Type : Original Paper


1 Department of Biological Sciences Faculty of Science Yarmouk University Irbid Jordan

2 Department of Biological Sciences, Yarmouk University, Faculty of Science, Irbid, Jordan.

3 Department of Telecommunication Engineering, Hijjawi Faculty for Engineering Technology, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.


Introduction: Mobile phone users and base stations have increased exponentially in recent decades. These expansions have extended worries about the potential risk of long-lasting Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF-EMF) exposure on human health and environmental quality. The current study was designed to explore the cytogenetic consequences of subjecting two biological systems to RF-EMF at a frequency of 1800MHz and a specific absorption rate of 0.27 W/kg.
Material and Methods: Chromosome aberration test (onion meristematic cells) and micronucleus assay (mouse erythrocytes) were used to evaluate the potential cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of the in vivo exposure to RF-EMF at a frequency of 1800 MHz. The two living systems were subjected to RF-EMF for 0, 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 hours daily for seven successive days. We recorded the percent aberrant cells (%Abc), the percentage of micronuclei formation in erythrocytes (%MN), and the percentage of micronucleated polychromatic erythrocytes (%MNPCE).
Results: It was demonstrated that the short- and intermediate-term exposure to RF-EMF may cause a gradual time-dependent boost in root growth. However, significant growth inhibition was observed following 4-hour exposure. Exposure to RF-EMF did not change mitotic indices of onion meristematic cells. Significant increases in Abc, MN, and MNPCE percentages were recorded.
Conclusion: The outcome of this study proposes that unlimited exposure of living organisms to RF-EMF may lead to adverse effects. Therefore, unnecessary use of mobile phones should be avoided.


Main Subjects

  1. Parasuraman S, Sam AT, Yee SW, Chuon BL, Ren LY. Smartphone usage and increased risk of mobile phone addiction: A concurrent study. Int J Pharma Investig. 2017; 7:125-31.
  2. International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Measuring Digital Development – Facts and Figures.
  3. Olorunsola AB, Ikumapayi OM, Oladapo BI, Alimi AO, Adeoye AOM. Temporal variation of exposure from radio-frequency electromagnetic fields around mobile communication base stations. Sci Afr. 2021; 12: e00724.
  4. Larik RSA, Mallah GA, Talpur MMA, Suhag AK, Larik FA. Effects of wireless devices on human body. J Comput Sci Syst Biol. 2016; 9:119-24.
  5. Sharma S, Sharma A, Shukla S. Effect of electromagnetic radiation on vital organs in rats. Octa J Biosci. 2017; 5(1):1-4.
  6. Stein Y, Hänninen O, Huttunen P, Ahonen M, Ekman R. Electromagnetic radiation – Environmental indicators in our surroundings. Environ. Indic. 2015; 1011-24.
  7. Movahedi MM, Golpaygani AT, Safari A, Amani S. Effects of short-term exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by 3G and 4G mobile phones on reaction time and short-term memory. Iran J Med Phys. 2019; 16:250-4.
  8. Narinyan L, Ayrapetyan S. Cyclic AMP‐dependent signaling system is a primary metabolic target for non‐thermal effect of microwaves on heart muscle hydration. Electromagn Biol Med. 2017; 36:182–
  9. Narayanan SN, Jetti R, Kesari KK, Kumar RS, Nayak SB, Bhat PG. Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation-induced behavioral changes and their possible basis. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 2019; 26(30):30693-710.
  10. Pacchierotti F, Ardoino L, Benassi B, Consales C, Cordelli E, Eleuteri P, et al. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure on male fertility and pregnancy and birth outcomes: Protocols for a systematic review of experimental studies in non-human mammals and in human sperm exposed in vitro. Environment Int. 2021; 157:106806.
  11. Mai TC, Delanaud S, Bach V, Braun A , Pelletier A, de Seze R. Effect of non-thermal radiofrequency on body temperature in mice. Sci Rep. 2020; 10(1): 1-9.
  12. Reddy MVB. Biochemical alterations as markers of mobile phone radiation in mice. Res J Pharm Biol Chem Sci. 2017; 8(2):1808.
  13. Balmori A. Electromagnetic radiation as an emerging driver factor for the decline of insects. Sci Total Environ. 2021; 767:144913.
  14. Kaur S, Vian A, Chandel S, Singh HP, Batish DR, Kohli Sensitivity of plants to high frequency electromagnetic radiation: cellular mechanisms and morphological changes. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol. 2021; 20:55–74.
  15. Khalil AM, Gagaa MH, Alshamali AM. 8‐Oxo‐7, 8‐dihydro‐2′‐deoxyguanosine as a biomarker of DNA damage by mobile phone radiation. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2012; 31:734–
  16. Alkis ME, Akdag MZ, Dasdag S. Effects of low‐intensity microwave radiation on oxidant‐antioxidant parameters and DNA damage in the liver of rats. Bioelectromagnetics. 2021; 42:76-85.
  17. Khalil AM, Salman WK, Al-Qaoud KM. Preliminary evaluation of acute cytogenotoxicity of a novel phenylboronic acid derivative; 2(bromoacetamido) phenylboronic acid using the Allium cepa chromosome aberrations assay. Caryologia. 2016; 70 (1):34-41.
  18. Liu X. SAR and temperature elevation in six-layered adult and child head model. Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Purdue University. Hammond, Indiana. 2020. P59.
  19. Khalil AM, Salman WK, Al-Qaoud KM. Evaluation of genotoxic potential of 2- bromoacetamido) phenylboronic acid on Balb/c mice peripheral blood cells using in vivo micronucleus assay. Jordan J Pharm Sci. 2017; 10 (2):103-12.
  20. Wultsch G, Setayesh T, Kundi M, Kment M, Nersesyan A, Fenech M, Knasmüller S. Induction of DNA damage as a consequence of occupational exposure to crystalline silica: A review and meta-analysis, Mutat Res. 2021; 787:108349.
  21. Fiskesjö G. The Allium test in waste-water monitoring. Environ Toxicol Water Qual. 1993; 8:291–
  22. Wierzbicka MH, Przedpełska E, Ruzik R, Ouerdane L, Połeć-Pawlak K, Jarosz M, et al. Comparison of the toxicity and distribution of cadmium and Pb in plant cells. Protoplasma. 2007; 231:99–
  23. Khanna N, Sharma S. 2013. Allium cepa root chromosomal aberration assay: A Review. Indian J Pharm Biol Res. 2013; 1(3):104-19.
  24. Sharma VP, Singh HP, Kohli RK, Batish DR. Mobile phone radiation inhibits Vigna radiate (mung beans) root growth by inducing oxidative stress. Sci Total Environ. 2009; 407:5543-47.
  25. Chandel S, Kaur S, Singh HP, Batish DR, Kohli RK. Exposure to 2100MHz electromagnetic field radiations induces reactive oxygen species generation in Allium cepa roots. J Microsc Ultrastruct. 2017; 5 (4):225-9.
  26. Pall ML. Electromagnetic fields act similarly in plants as in animals: Probable activation of calcium channels via their voltage sensor. Curr Chem Biol. 2016; 10(1):74-82.
  27. Parihar L. Effect of mobile phone radiation on nodule formation in the leguminous plants. Current World Environ. 2014; 9(1):145-55.
  28. Debnath D, Bora M. A survey on the impact of cell phone tower radiations on some nut and banana plants. Int J Adv Res Sci Eng. 2015; 4(2):166-71.
  29. Khalil AM, Al-Qaoud KM, Alemam IF, Okour MA. Mobile phone radiation might alter gene expression in the oral squamous epithelial cells. Egypt J Medical Hum Genet. 022; 23:12.
  30. Leme DM, Martin-Mores MA. Allium cepa test in environmental monitoring: a review on its applications. Mutat Res. 2009; 682:71-81.
  31. Tkalec M, Malaric K, Pavlica M, Pevalek-Kozlina B, Vidakovic-Cifrec Z. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on germination and root meristem of Allium cepa Mutat Res. 2009; 672 (2):76-81.
  32. Pesnya DS, Romanovsky AV. Comparison of cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of Plutonium-239 alpha particles and mobile phone GSM radiation in the Allium cepa test. Mutat Res. 2013; 750:27-33.
  33. Chandel S, Kaur S, Issa M, Singh HI, Batish DR, Kohli RK. Exposure to mobile phone radiation at 2350 MHz incites cyto- and genotoxic effects in root meristems o Allium cepa. J Environ Health Sci Engineer. 2019;
  34. Gustavino B, Carboni G, Petrillo R, Paoluzzi G, Santovetti E, Rizzoni M. Exposure to 915 MHz radiation induces micronuclei in Vicia faba root tips. Mutagenesis. 2016; 31 (2):187–
  35. Qureshi ST, Memon SA, Abassi AR, Sial MA, Bughio FA. Radiofrequency radiations induced genotoxic and carcinogenic effects on chickpea (Cicer arietinum) root tip cells. Saudi J of Biol Sci. 2017; 24 (4): 883-91.
  36. Akinboro A, Mohamed KB, Asmawi MZ, Sulaiman SF, Sofiman OA. 2011. Antioxidants in aqueous extract of Myristica fragrans (Houtt.) suppress mitosis and cyclophosphamide-induced chromosomal aberrations in Allium cepa cells. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2011; 12(11):915–22.
  37. Türkoğlu, Ș. Determination of genotoxic effects of chlorfenvinphos and fenbuconazole in Allium cepa root cells by mitotic activity, chromosome aberration, DNA content, and comet assay. Pest Biochem Physiol. 2012; 103:224–
  38. Nefic H, Musanovic J, Metovic A, Kurteshi K. Chromosomal and nuclear alterations in root tip cells of Allium cepa induced by alprazolam. Med Arh. 2013; 67:388–92.
  39. Abdel-Rahman HHM, Abdel Migid HM, Attia SA, Rizkalla AA. Cytogenetical, biochemical and chemical analytical studies for assessment of the water quality of Nile water using three bioassays. Middle East J Appl Sci. 2015; 5(5):112–
  40. Jamalpoor A, Satheesh HC. In vivo evaluation of genotoxic effects of Euphorbia nivulia Buch on mice bone marrow cells using chromosomal aberration test and micronucleus assay. Int J Pharma Res Rev. 2014; 3:28-33.
  41. Hintzsche H, Stopper H. Micronucleus frequency in buccal mucosa of mobile phone users. Toxicol Lett. 2010; 193:124-30.
  42. Ros-Llor I, Sanchez-Siles M, Camacho-Alonso F, Lopez-Jornet P. Effect of mobile phones on micronucleus frequency in human exfoliated oral mucosal cells. Oral Dis. 2012; 18(8):786-92.
  43. Oliveira FM, Carmona AM, Ladeira C. Is mobile phone radiation genotoxic? Analysis of micronucleus frequency in exfoliated buccal cells. Mutat Res. 2017; 822:41-6.
  44. Scarfì MR, Fresegna AM, Villani P, Pinto R, Marino C, Sarti M, et al. Exposure to radiofrequency radiation (900 MHz, GSM signal) does not affect micronucleus frequency and cell proliferation in human peripheral blood lymphocytes: an interlaboratory study. Radiat Res. 2006; 165(6):655-63.
  45. Zeni O, Schiavoni A, Perrotta A, Forigo D, Deplano M, Scarfi MR. Evaluation of genotoxic effects in human leukocytes after in vitro exposure to 1950 MHz UMTS radiofrequency field. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008; 29:177–
  46. Al-Serori H, Kundi M, Ferk F, Mišík M, Nersesyan A, Murbach M, et al. Evaluation of the potential of mobile phone specific electromagnetic fields (UMTS) to produce micronuclei in human glioblastoma cell lines. Toxicol in Vitro. 2017; 40:264-71.
  47. Bisht KS, Moros EG, Straube WL, Baty JD, Roti JLR. The effect of 835.62 MHz FDMA or 847.74 MHz CDMA modulated radiofrequency radiation on the induction of micronuclei in C3H 10T½ Radiat Res. 2002; 157:506–15.
  48. Upadhyaya C, Upadhyaya T, Patel I. Attributes of non-ionizing radiation of 1800 MHz frequency on plant health and antioxidant content of Tomato (Solanum Lycopersicum) plants. J Radiat Res Appl Sci. 2022; 15:54-68.






Volume 20, Issue 5
September and October 2023
Pages 273-281
  • Receive Date: 28 June 2022
  • Revise Date: 18 September 2022
  • Accept Date: 08 October 2022