Effects of 60‐Hz electric fields on cellular elongation and radial expansion growth in cucurbit roots

Andrew A. Brayman, Morton W. Miller, Christopher Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Serial longitudinal and transverse sections were prepared from roots of Cucumis sativus and Cucurbita maxima that had been exposed/sham‐exposed to 60‐Hz electric fields for 0–2 days. Field exposures were selected to produce a 10–20% or a 70–80% growth inhibition in whole roots of both species. Cortical cell length and diameter were measured using a microscope and eyepiece micrometer; measurements were conducted “blind”. In both species, inhibition of cellular elongation was associated with exposure to electric fields (EF). Cellular radial expansion was apparently unaffected by exposure to electric fields. The diameters of radially unexpanded or fully expanded C. sativus cortical cells were about 25–30% smaller than those of comparable cells in C. maxima roots. Previous studies of the relationship between rates of root growth and applied EF strength showed that the response thresholds of C. sativus and C. maxima differed by a similar relative amount. These results are consistent with the postulate that EF‐induced effects in roots are elicited by induced transmembrane potentials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Cucumis sativus roots
  • Cucurbita maxima roots
  • root cell growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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