[Histonet] Re: Microwave processing effect on DNA/RNA

Johnson, Teri TJJ <@t> stowers.org
Mon Nov 8 14:19:18 CST 2010


You asked an interesting question and it got me to googling. Since microwave radiation is non-ionizing it should not adversely affect things like DNA and RNA. I found this summary of a group of publications on this and apparently in 1995, Kakita demonstrated that microwaves were capable of  fragmenting viral DNA, and they were able to conclude it was not due to the heating effect. http://www.rfsafe.com/research/rf_hazards/dna_damage/microwave_effect.htm

Most of the data I can find seems to correspond to the type of electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones, because that's the biggie going around these days. Here's a more recent paper on cell phone microwaves and their effect on human lymphocytes. It might be useful to check out the reference list, especially the ones cited in the introduction. http://www.hese-project.org/hese-uk/en/papers/sarimov_chromatin_heatshock_ieee04.pdf  The thing I don't know is how the microwaves from cell phones equate, or if they even do, with microwave oven exposure, especially since we can control the samples from being overheated. Also, this study was done on cell cultures, which while it might give interesting and useful information, it does not mimic the conditions of a whole organism. In addition, the microwave effects were reported on unfixed cells, unlike the samples you will be processing.

What I would do if I were you is get a demo unit in, simulaneously process 10-20 different patient samples with the microwave processor and with your routine processor after your routine fixation, and then send them off for analysis. That should tell you all you need to know right there.

If anyone has already done this, please speak up!

Best wishes,

Teri Johnson, HT(ASCP)QIHC
Managing Director, Histology Facility
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Kansas City, MO

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