Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 55, Issue 10, pp 809–815 | Cite as

The response of human bacteria to static magnetic field and radiofrequency electromagnetic field

  • David P. E. Crabtree
  • Brandon J. Herrera
  • Sanghoon KangEmail author
Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry


Cell phones and electronic appliances and devices are inseparable from most people in modern society and the electromagnetic field (EMF) from the devices is a potential health threat. Although the direct health effect of a cell phone and its radiofrequency (RF) EMF to human is still elusive, the effect to unicellular organisms is rather apparent. Human microbiota, including skin microbiota, has been linked to a very significant role in the health of a host human body. It is important to understand the response of human skin microbiota to the RF-EMF from cell phones and personal electronic devices, since this may be one of the potential mechanisms of a human health threat brought about by the disruption of the intimate and balanced host-microbiota relationship. Here, we investigated the response of both laboratory culture strains and isolates of skin bacteria under static magnetic field (SMF) and RF-EMF. The growth patterns of laboratory cultures of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus epidermidis under SMF were variable per different species. The bacterial isolates of skin microbiota from 4 subjects with different cell phone usage history also showed inconsistent growth responses. These findings led us to hypothesize that cell phone level RF-EMF disrupts human skin microbiota. Thus, the results from the current study lay ground for more comprehensive research on the effect of RF-EMF on human health through the human-microbiota relationship.


skin microbiota bacterial growth cell phone SMF RF-EMF 


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Copyright information

© The Microbiological Society of Korea and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David P. E. Crabtree
    • 1
  • Brandon J. Herrera
    • 2
  • Sanghoon Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyBaylor UniversityWacoTexasUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringBaylor UniversityWacoTexasUSA

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