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Quantum biology

Radical Pair Mechanism (RPM)

The RPM offers a compelling explanation on how magnetic resonances might influence biochemical reactions.  This research was essentially founded by pioneering work from Klaus Schulten, who suggested a mechanism involving formation of magnetically sensitive free radical pairs, culminating in recent reports that applied magnetic fields can affect biological systems.  Currently, there is evidence for at least two distinct magneto-sensing mechanisms in cell biology. One of these requires illumination with blue/UVA light to form radical pairs, presumably through photochemical mechanisms involving the blue light receptor cryptochromes.  A second magneto-sensing system involves metabolic pathways that are linked to free radical pairs in ROS production, a manifestation of normal metabolism in cellular function.  Therefore, the potential to manipulate biological systems by influencing quantum phenomenon is becoming established.

Our research integrates theoretical aspects of the RPM, magneto-sensing, and magnetic resonance. Here, radio-frequency magnetic fields, interacting with Zeeman and/or flavin hyperfine couplings, act as actuators to control singlet-triplet mixing in FADH:O2•- radical pairs, influencing formation of specific ROS products. This radical pair intermediate is a fundamental branching point for the production of ROS in biological systems, resulting in formation of either O2⦁- or H2O2 products. The O2⦁-/H2O2 product ratios can be altered by magnetic resonances, which affect intersystem crossing rates during spin coherence in cryptochrome activity.

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