An investigation was undertaken to define a 60-Hz electric field exposure system which would affect a eukaryotic cell system while mitigating a potential thermal rise. The biological effectiveness of pulsed 60-Hz electric fields on a cell system of defined sensitivity to continuous-wave 60-Hz electric fields was sought. Roots of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) were exposed to pulsed trains of 60-Hz, 430 V/m electric fields. The "on" time was constant at 1 s and the "off" time varied. The repetitive on:off regimens used were 1:20, 1:50, 1:100, 1:130, 1:200, and 1:300. With continuous or 1:20 pulsed fields the growth response was equivalent (representing a 60% depression in root growth rate). The severity of the growth effect diminished as the off time increased; for the 1:100 regimen, the relative growth rate was depressed by about 30%; for the 1:300 regimen, the relative growth rate was equal to that of the controls.

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