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Use of various biomarkers to explore the effects of GSM and GSM-like radiations on flowering plants


Since last decade, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) technology has evidently revolutionized our digital world. It uses electromagnetic frequency radiations (EMFr), ranging 850–1900 MHz, and is being composed of three main units (i.e., mobile station, access and core networks). GSM technology has significant impact on our daily life as revealed by increased number of mobile users in the world over. The main goal of the present review is to critically revisit the available literature regarding the responses of various flowering plant species towards GSM and GSM-like radiations using physiological, biochemical, molecular and cytological markers using in vitro approaches. Different monocots (tomato, onion, wheat and maize etc.) and dicots (pulses, mustard and flax) have been studied using both GSM mobile phone and GSM simulators. Different studies revealed overall reductions in germination, root-shoot lengths, dry weight, in both dose and time-dependent manners. However, there could be found incline in various parameters at biochemical and molecular levels. Furthermore, there could be found disturbances at cytological levels upon exposure of roots of onion to EMFr radiations. The overall literature review shows the negative effects of GSM and GSM-like radiations on targeted plant species. In order to alleviate the stressful effects of EMFr radiations on plants, in vivo studies need to be done using various cost-effective approaches such as use of biochar and various organic amendments.

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Adenosine triphosphate


Adenylate energy charge


Ascobate peroxidase


Base Station Antenna


Carbonyl cyanide 3-chlorophenylhydrazone


Code division multiple access




Gigahertz transverse electromagnetic


Glucose-6-phosphaste dehydrogenase


Glutathione reductase


Guaicol peroxidase

H2O2 :

Hydrogen peroxide




Mode Stirred Reverberation Chamber




Polyphenol oxidases


Specific absorption rating


Power density


Superoxide dismutase


Transverse electromagnetic


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The study was financed by National Basic Research Program (973 program, No.: 2010CB126006) of China (2011AA10A102, 2013AA102601) and Kohat University of Science and Technology, Kohat 26000, Pakistan. All appropriate permissions have been obtained for any work that has been reproduced in the submitted manuscript.

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Correspondence to Muhammad Daud Khan or Zhu Shuijin.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Khan, M.D., Ali, S., Azizullah, A. et al. Use of various biomarkers to explore the effects of GSM and GSM-like radiations on flowering plants. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 24611–24628 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2734-3

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  • GSM technology
  • Electromagnetic frequency radiation
  • Biomarkers
  • Monocots
  • Dicots
  • Flowering plants
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Antioxidants