1021-4437/01/4806- $25.00 © 2001
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology, Vol. 48, No. 6, 2001, pp. 709–715. Translated from Fiziologiya Rastenii, Vol. 48, No. 6, 2001, pp. 821–828.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2001 by Novitsky, Novitskaya, Kocheshkova, Nechiporenko, Dobrovol’skii.
Most researchers concerned with plant growth in
magnetic ﬁelds analyzed seed germination in darkness
as a test . It was noted that magnetic ﬁelds affect cell
division [2, 3], cell extension , and cell differentia-
tion [4, 5]. In many studies of magnetic ﬁeld effects on
plant growth, seeds were germinated on agariﬁed
media or water.
In some experiments, reliable growth responses to a
weak magnetic ﬁeld were observed on structurally
homogenous materials, such as coleoptile segments
devoid of the cell division zone. The effect of a weak
magnetic ﬁeld on growth under natural conditions is
insufﬁciently investigated to date.
 studied the effect of a permanent
magnetic ﬁeld (PMF) on growth of barley seedlings and
showed that PMF at a strength of about 47 A/m sup-
pressed the gain in weight of shoots and roots. It was
also noted that the root system is more sensitive to weak
magnetic ﬁelds than the aboveground parts of a plant
In an earlier study , it was found that vertically
oriented uniform PMF (approx. 1500 A/m) exerted
either stimulatory or inhibitory effects on growth of rye
roots depending on the ﬁeld direction and the cultivar-
speciﬁc sensitivity to PMF.
In another work with rye coleoptile segments com-
prising the elongation zone , the magnetic ﬁeld was
applied as a strength gradient (2610–19750 A/m). It
was shown that the increase in the ﬁeld strength stimu-
lated growth in these segments, whereas the increase in
ﬁeld gradient suppressed the growth.
Onion plants of different varieties and species are
sensitive to magnetic ﬁelds  and other geophysical
factors (e.g., disturbances of solar activity and baromet-
ric pressure) . However, the effects of PMF on onion
plants were investigated under quite particular condi-
tions. In the cytological study , Celestre applied
strong nonuniform magnetic ﬁelds with large gradients
of strength. She noticed a retardation of root growth
under the action of PMF and a delay of mitoses. On the
contrary, some authors [11, 12] observed stimulation of
mitoses in onion seedlings exposed to strong PMF
A/m) and oriented by their radicles to the
southern magnetic pole.
Unfortunately, the general morphophysiological
growth pattern in magnetic ﬁelds other than natural
geomagnetic ﬁeld is only brieﬂy outlined. Hence, it is
not clear whether the phenomena observed by cytolo-
gists, such as stimulation and retardation of cell divi-
sion, elongation, and differentiation in root and stem
cells, are accompanied by morphophysiological modi-
In this study, we attempted to reinvestigate the possi-
ble effects of weak SMP on plant growth at the morpho-
physiological level, using green onions as an example.
Growth of Green Onions in a Weak Permanent Magnetic Field
Yu. I. Novitsky, G. V. Novitskaya, T. K. Kocheshkova,
G. A. Nechiporenko, and M. V. Dobrovol’skii
Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Botanicheskaya ul. 35, Moscow, 127276 Russia;
fax: 7(095) 977-8018; e-mail: email@example.com
Received October 2, 2000
—Effect of a weak permanent magnetic ﬁeld (PMF) with a strength of 403 A/m on
bulb sprouting and leaf growth was investigated. Two onion varieties to produce green onions (cv. Arzamasskii)
and bulb onions (cv. Ryazanskii) were examined. In addition, the content of chlorophyll, carbohydrates, and
protein in the leaves of the control and PMF-treated plants were determined. The plants of the control group
were grown under a natural geomagnetic ﬁeld. The treatment of onions with PMF accelerated sprouting and
extended the length of the fourth leaf in cv. Arzamasskii as much as 40%; the ﬁrst leaf in cv. Ryazanskii was
lengthened by 25% with respect to its length in untreated plants. Exposure to PMF increased the number of
sprouts in cv. Ryazanskii and the number of sprout bunches in cv. Arzamasskii. In addition, PMF elevated the
total content of chlorophyll and protein, expressed per fresh weight of green onions, but had no effect on the
total content of carbohydrates. Conversely, PMF reliably reduced the total content of chlorophyll and protein
in cv. Ryazanskii. The temperature increase diminished the effects of PMF.
Key words: Allium cepa - weak permanent uniform horizontal magnetic ﬁeld - growth
: PMF—permanent magnetic ﬁeld.