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Reproduction of an Arsenic-Stressed Duckweed Bioassay using Homeopathic Preparations of Arsenicum Album
05 February 2018 (online)
Objective: Jäger et al observed effects of Arsenicum album in a plant bioassay using arsenic-stressed duckweed (Lemna gibba L.). By reproducing these experiments, the influence of a different location and researcher will be investigated. Moreover, the test system has been expanded with metabolomic analysis to reveal biochemical pathways that can be affected by homeopathic remedies.
Methods: The test system with arsenic-stressed duckweed had to be set up at the University of Freiburg. To follow the experimental settings of Jäger et al, a climate chamber was constructed, which allows keeping conditions of temperature, air humidity, and light intensity constant. To prevent cross-contamination in the experiments, a further shielding surrounding each beaker was included. The highly standardized conditions resulted in very small coefficients of variance (≈ 1%). To investigate the stability of the test system, three systematic negative control experiments using only unsuccussed pure water were conducted. In further experiments, decimal diluted and succussed potencies of Arsenicum album in eight potency levels (17×, 18×, 21–23×, 28×, 30×, and 33×) will be tested. Additionally, metabolomic fingerprints of treated and untreated plants will be compared. This complementary analysis allows for a statistical evaluation of several thousand metabolomes with principal components analysis (PCA). Pathways that are affected by homeopathic remedies could possibly be revealed by further analyses.
Results: The experimental settings of Jäger et al were reproducible. No significant effects were observed in the systematic negative control experiments, which indicate a stable test system.
Conclusion: A test system that revealed significant effects of homeopathic remedies on arsenic-stressed duckweed was recreated at a second location. In addition to the growth rate of duckweed, metabolomics will be used to reveal differences between treated and untreated plants.
Keywords: Arsenic-stressed plant bioassay, reproduction, Arsenicum album, homeopathy, metabolomics