What is a Bio-Mag?
We can tell you waht it is and what it does. What we cannot tell you is how it does it.
A Description of the Bio-Mag
The Bio-Mag is actually a device the Qsine experimented with and marketed back in the 1970's. It is not new, it is not modern, it in not high tech and most of all it is not well understood. So now that you know what it is not, lets talk about what it is: Basically, the Bio-Mag is a simple, permanent magnet fitted into a plastic housing. The plastic housing was designed to press onto the outlet of a grain auger. As we are in Alberta, our local market is predominantly grain seed hence, the Bio-Mag was designed to fit that handling equipment.
This is not meant to imply that magnetic seed treatment only works on grains; far from it. We have see results with many vegetables and flowers also.
The plastic housing is also used to control the distance between the magnet and seeds during treatment. As shown on the left, when a seed passes through the housing, it is treated... yes that is all we do! We have found that the intensity of the magnetic field and the time duration needed to treat seeds fall into quite a broad range.
How the magnet actually treats the seed is still unknown. There are no detectable, phyical changes to the seed but germination and emergence are generally quicker than untreated seeds; plant growth is often more vigorous; and the plants often have more generative capacity (which is where the claims for greater yields come from).
Is the Magnet in the Bio-Mag Special?
No. The magnet is simply a cow magnet in a plastic housing. (A cow magnet is a standard magnet that ranchers put into the stomachs of their cows. It keeps barbed wire, nails and other magnetic things that the cows eat from running through their digestive systems.) From testing we found that the magnets had a suitable field for quickly treating seeds when the distance from the magnet was controlled. We treat the seeds by simply air dropping them past the magnet; it is not necessary to pause the seed near the magnet.
Electro-magnets are also known to work. One thing to watch when experimenting is that electromagnetic fields may be treating seeds without you knowing about it. There are huge numbers of devices now that generate electromagnetic fields. Electric motors, computers, cordless telephones, televisions, microwave ovens, cell phone towers, over-head power lines, etc. all create magnetic fields and are capable of treating seeds.
In fact, when trying to perform experiments on seed treatment the hardest part to control is the presence and strength of external magnetic fields. We cannot see, hear, feel, touch or taste when the magnetic field around us changes; even if the change is significant.
One example is when I moved a computer in the office next to our utility room. The computer ran fine for years but we added some printing equipment and had to move some items around. The computer wound up against the wall that was common with the utility room where our electrical service comes into the building. The monitor flickered constantly when we started the computer. We checked cables, set the display to different resolutions and refresh rates... all kinds of things but nothing worked. The next day I realized the monitor was right across the wall from a large circuit breaker box and decided to move it. As I moved the monitor while it was running, I could see the flicker increase and decrease. We finally put the computer five feet from where it was and the problem stopped. However, every time I walk into that room, I have the feeling that I'm being "nuked"!
Why the Information on the Bio-Mag is so Vague
We could get into discussions about magnetic field strength and duration of treatments and try and hypothesize about how the Gauss/second influences yield but previous research at Qsine and other institutions in North America has found very little data with statistical relevance.
Most conclusions from the research are dressed up with technical terms but basically they say: "We see this effect quite often but there are times when nothing happens or we get the opposite effect of what we thought we should, even though all of the controlled conditions were the same."
In our research we found that most of the time germination and emergence was quicker and yields were higher with treated seeds. However, we also found times when plant growth was stunted or we even killed seeds with treatments. We found that if we bounced a seed directly off the pole of the magnet we could kill seeds. Not every time, sometimes we could kill seeds often, other times we could not kill seeds at all. We covered the poles of the magnet in the housing and this seemed to help but there are still times when the treatment either does nothing or stunts growth. Most times though, we see positive results.
One theory we have at Qsine is that magnetic objects have properties other than magnetic field strength and direction but we have yet to discover how to sense and measure these properties. It is possible that the field that exerts force on iron masses is only one of multiple fields surrounding a magnetic body. This would account for why so much magnetic research sees large deviations in results while all of the measured control conditions are held constant.
One example of this showed up on a "Nature of Things" special. We had it taped but loaned out that tape and lost track of it. I believe the show was called "The Magnetic Earth". On it an researcher was using strong magnetic fields to treat cancer cells. He was finding that powerful magnetic fields could slow the growth or kill cancer cells. However, he also found that every once in a while the cancer growth would accelerate uncontrollably even though his control conditions were constant. Of course, this show is now very old and radiation treatment of cancer is now very common but I don't know if Radiologists still find the exceptions where their treatment enhances the cancer growth.
What is interesting is that someone who was using magnetism to inhibit organic growth was getting the same results as those of us using it to enhance organic growth.