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Bioelectromagnetics. 2011 Apr;32(3):218-25. doi: 10.1002/bem.20631. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Deprotonation of glutamic acid induced by weak magnetic field: an FTIR-ATR study.

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C.R. ENEA Frascati Department UTAPRAD-DIM, via E. Fermi 27, 00044 Frascati, Italy.


It has been claimed that weak extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) can affect biochemical reactions and a wide-ranging body of literature is available on this topic. Nevertheless, the physical nature of these effects remains largely unknown. We investigated the influence of ELF-EMF on glutamic acid solutions using Fourier transform infrared-attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR) spectra. Samples were exposed for 10, 20, or 30 min to a weak EMF generated by Helmoltz coils, and then placed in a spectrometer. After exposure, those solutions that had a pH lower than the isoelectric point tended to show a shift toward the deprotonation of the carboxylic group, while solutions having a pH greater than the isoelectric point showed the deprotonation of the residual amine group. Moreover, at low pH values, we also detected a shift of the δ(antisym) band of the amine. The effects lasted a few minutes after exposure before the native configuration was restored. The spectral modifications were observed after each independent exposure to EMFs, and the same effects were seen by varying the frequencies in the range of 0-7 kHz. Therefore, the hypothesis of the existence of a resonant frequency that has been proposed elsewhere cannot be supported by the results of this study. The most surprising characteristic of this effect is the long-lasting nature of the perturbation, which is hard to be explained in terms of short-living excitations in biological matter.

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