Determining the effect of microwave radiation on Saccharomyces cerevisiae


  • Joelle Fernandes


Microwaves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and have frequencies ranging from
300MHz to 300GHz (Zhi et al. 1). They are widely used in households, industrial fields, and for
broadcasting. However, with its popularization, attention has shifted to the negative effects it
may have on living organisms, as microwave radiation can heat bodily tissue the same way it
heats food according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (16). In order to determine
whether microwave radiation has a harmful effect on living organisms or not, Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s yeast, was microwaved for varying amounts of time and
was proofed using warm water and sugar. The volume was recorded after allowing the yeast to
proof for 10 minutes. It was found that microwave radiation had a significantly negative effect
on the growth of S. cerevisiae (P < 0.001, R2 = 0.867). A one-way ANOVA test was performed to
analyze variation and the difference was found to be statistically significant (F(6, 14) = 317.5, P
< 0.0001) and thus microwave radiation did have an effect on mean proofed volume. Post-hoc
comparisons using Tukey’s multiple comparisons test indicated that the mean volume for the
control group (M = 25.47, SD = 2.21) significantly differed from all other microwave treatments.