Electric Field Effects on Biological Membranes: Electroincorporation and Electrofusion

  • Hermann Berg
  • Walter Förster
  • Hans-Egon Jacob


Based on the famous discovery of LUIGI GALVANI*, further experiments of discharge of a VOLTA—pile through tissues were performed by JOHANN WILHELM RITTER (1797–98) using sensory organs of his own body. Receptor cells of the tongue, the nose, the eyes were excited in an extraordinary way by pulses of 100–500 Volts (about 1 kV/cm) between needle electrodes [1]. During the 19th century nerve excitation and muscle convulsions by direct currents were studied intensively (E. DU BOIS-REYMOND, Germany; L. NOBILI, Italy; G. FECHNER, Germany [2]) by electric field pulses (spark inductor). J. LOEB [3] induced liquefaction of protoplasma and pseudopodia of infusoria/amoebae and enhanced the permeability of gland cells in the skin of cringing animals. On these beginnings of electrophysiology or, more general, bioelectrochemistry, as well as on the developments during the nineteenth century an excellent survey was given by Wilhelm OSTWALD [4].


Zona Pellucida Electric Field Pulse Needle Electrode Discharge Chamber Electric Field Pulse Treatment 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Berg
    • 1
  • Walter Förster
    • 1
  • Hans-Egon Jacob
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biophysical Chemistry Central Institute of Microbiology and Experimental TherapyAcademy of Sciences of the German Democratic RepublicJenaGermany

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