Weak Magnetic Field Affects Bacterium



Excerpts from an article in Nature, 11/04

Scientists have demonstrated that a weak magnetic field can affects production of a certain molecule found in a photosynthetic bacterium.

This is the first time a magnetic effect of this kind has been seen, says Peter Hore, a physical chemist at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research effort.

Chemists already knew that magnetic fields can affect certain chemical reactions involving radicals, molecules that contain unpaired electrons. But these reactions rely on molecules not found in living creatures. The question remained whether such magnetic-field effects occur in real biological systems, says Thorsten Ritz, a biophysicist at the University of California, Irvine.

They have published their research online in the journal Chemical Communications.

doi:10.1038/news041122-13

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