Effect of sound on living organisms

It is undeniable that music and sounds can strongly affect our emotions and mood, but so far the study of physical stimuli provoked by sound waves on living organisms has been mostly focused on brain and sensorimotor structures of animals rather than basal cell metabolism.

Using metabolomics and shake-flask cultivations under identical growth conditions, we have compared the physiology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells growing in the presence of music, high frequency and low frequency sound waves and cells grown in the silence. All sound stimuli tested not only increased significantly the growth rate of yeast cells but they also reduced biomass yields.

The intra- and extracellular metabolite profiles of the yeast cells were significantly different depending on the sound stimulus applied. We were able to identify a total of 55 different intracellular metabolites and 32 of those were detected at significant different levels in at least one growth condition and 9 were unique to specific conditions. Therefore, our results clearly demonstrate that sound does affect cell metabolism, which opens an entirely new perspective for scientific investigation interfacing acoustics, biophysics and biochemistry.

If we understand how sound affect cell metabolism and which metabolic pathways are affected by specific sound frequencies we may be able in the future to use sound waves to control cell growth and physiology, increase product yield, inhibit co-product formation and improve productivity of industrial fermentations.


Related publications:

Aggio, R.B.M; Obolonkin, V. and Villas-Boas, S. G. 2012. Sonic vibration affects the metabolism of yeast cells growing in liquid culture: a metabolomic study. Metabolomics 8:670–678. doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0360-x >>>


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