A study has been made of the effect of sudden intense flashes of ultraviolet light, acting on a wide variety of cells and tissues, with special reference to stimulation.
The flashes are obtained by a high voltage condenser discharge through a quartz mercury vapor sterilamp, using the method of Rentschler. The lethal effect of a single such discharge is widespread among unicellular organisms.
Medullated nerves and whole muscles are not visibly stimulated, because of absorption by connective tissue. Single muscle fibers undergo immediate contracture in 50 per cent of the experiments.
Nitella cells are stimulated, the effect depending on the dosage. Weak ultraviolet flashes slow or stop cyclosis reversibly. Strong flashes stop cyclosis reversibly with the appearance of a local or a propagated action potential. Very strong flashes kill the Nitella cells.
The effect of single flashes on myonemes, oscillatory movement, ameboid movement, cilia, flagella, and bioluminescence is described in the text.