Journal article


Impact of a High Magnetic Field on the Orientation of Gravitactic Unicellular Organisms-A Critical Consideration about the Application of Magnetic Fields to Mimic Functional Weightlessness


Publication Details
Author(s): Hemmersbach R, Simon A, Wasser K, Hauslage J, Christianen PCM, Albers PW, Lebert M, Richter P, Alt W, Anken R
Journal: Astrobiology
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Publication year: 2014
Volume: 14
Journal issue: 3
Pages range: 205-215
ISSN: 1531-1074

Abstract

The gravity-dependent behavior of Paramecium biaurelia and Euglena gracilis have previously been studied on ground and in real microgravity. To validate whether high magnetic field exposure indeed provides a ground-based facility to mimic functional weightlessness, as has been suggested earlier, both cell types were observed during exposure in a strong homogeneous magnetic field (up to 30 T) and a strong magnetic field gradient. While swimming, Paramecium cells were aligned along the magnetic field lines; orientation of Euglena was perpendicular, demonstrating that the magnetic field determines the orientation and thus prevents the organisms from the random swimming known to occur in real microgravity. Exposing Astasia longa, a flagellate that is closely related to Euglena but lacks chloroplasts and the photoreceptor, as well as the chloroplast-free mutant E. gracilis 1F, to a high magnetic field revealed no reorientation to the perpendicular direction as in the case of wild-type E. gracilis, indicating the existence of an anisotropic structure (chloroplasts) that determines the direction of passive orientation. Immobilized Euglena and Paramecium cells could not be levitated even in the highest available magnetic field gradient as sedimentation persisted with little impact of the field on the sedimentation velocities. We conclude that magnetic fields are not suited as a microgravity simulation for gravitactic unicellular organisms due to the strong effect of the magnetic field itself, which masks the effects known from experiments in real microgravity. Key Words: Levitation-Microgravity-Gravitaxis-Gravikinesis-Gravity. Astrobiology 14, 205-215.



How to cite
APA: Hemmersbach, R., Simon, A., Wasser, K., Hauslage, J., Christianen, P.C.M., Albers, P.W.,... Anken, R. (2014). Impact of a High Magnetic Field on the Orientation of Gravitactic Unicellular Organisms-A Critical Consideration about the Application of Magnetic Fields to Mimic Functional Weightlessness. Astrobiology, 14(3), 205-215. https://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2013.1085

MLA: Hemmersbach, Ruth, et al. "Impact of a High Magnetic Field on the Orientation of Gravitactic Unicellular Organisms-A Critical Consideration about the Application of Magnetic Fields to Mimic Functional Weightlessness." Astrobiology 14.3 (2014): 205-215.

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