The Effect of PEMFs Coupled with Electromagnetic Signal of Antibiotic on the Growth of E. Coli

Anton Sheikh-Fedorenko
More and more people around the world are turning their attention to bioelectromagnetic-based therapies, a type of energy medicine that uses electromagnetic fields such as low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) to help manage various conditions.

This post reviews a 2013 publication titled “Influence of Electromagnetic Signal of Antibiotics Excited by Low-Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Growth of Escherichia coli” by Y.-L. Ke et al. wherein the authors looked at the effect of PEMFs coupled with the electromagnetic signal of antibiotics on the growth rate of E. coli.


What did the authors do?


For the investigation, E. coli was chosen since it is regarded as the most extensively characterized bacterium. As for the antibiotic, ampicillin, a well-known broad-spectrum, beta-lactam penicillin antibiotic was selected. The E. coli cells were cultivated for 12 hours. Then, groups of E. coli cells were made: 

1) a sample group, which was exposed to PEMFs with the electromagnetic signal of ampicillin; and
2) a control group, which was not exposed to PEMFs.

To monitor the number of E. coli cells in the samples and controls, the optical density (OD) value was measured using light spectrophotometry at 600 nm. The relationship between OD and the number of E. coli cells can be represented by the following:
OD ∝ log N
where N is the number of E. coli in count/mL. From here, the growth rate can be derived. 


What did the data reveal?


The data revealed that there was a significant difference in the growth of E. coli between the experimental and control groups (Fig. 1). In fact, it was found that both the electromagnetic signal of ampicillin and PEMFs affected the growth of E. coli. The maximum growth retardation rate (GRR) of PEMFs with and without electromagnetic signal of ampicillin on the growth of E. coli cells during the logarithmic phase (also known as steady-state growth) was 17.4 and 9.08 %, respectively. The authors also found that by changing the carrier frequency of the PEMFs, the retardation effect on E. coli growth could be improved (Fig. 2).

Fig. 1. The growth rate of E. coli cells unexposed to PEMFs (control) and exposed to 210 mHz PEMFs with the electromagnetic signal of ampicillin (experimental).


Fig. 2. The growth rate of E. coli cells unexposed to PEMFs (control) and exposed to 210 Hz PEMFs with the electromagnetic signal of ampicillin (experimental).



What does this mean?


This study illustrates the ability to successfully couple PEMFs with the electromagnetic signal of ampicillin to reduce the growth rate of E. coli. Although further work is still needed to fully understand the mechanism the electromagnetic signal is affecting the E. coli, the study does provide additional support on the use of electromagnetic information transfer therapies and ICs as alternative clinical options for individuals.

Reference

Ke, Y., Chang, F., Chen, M. et al. Influence of Electromagnetic Signal of Antibiotics Excited by Low-Frequency Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields on Growth of Escherichia coli. Cell Biochem Biophys 67, 1229–1237 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12013-013-9641-5
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