“Saddle-shaped” dose-survival effect, is it a general and valuable phenomenon in microbes in response to heavy ion beam irradiation?

  • Xiaopeng Guo
  • Miaomiao Zhang
  • Yue Gao
  • Wenjian Li
  • Dong LuEmail author
Review Article


We aimed to verify the “saddle-shaped” dose-survival effect of microbes in response to heavy ion beam irradiation (HI), and further determine the radiation parameter that affects saddle shape formation, and the relationship between the saddle region and the positive mutation rate. A bibliometric analysis was performed based on literature containing the dose-survival effect of microbes in response to HI, from which the data on the particle energies, ionic types, irradiated microbes, survival curves, and maximum positive mutation rates were assembled. Articles reporting a “saddle-shaped” survival curve accounted for 64% of the total relevant articles and possessed a high cited frequency. The predominant articles, authors, and institutions that reported the dose-survival effect of microbes in response to HI proposed the “saddle-shaped” survival curve. It was customarily low-energy (but not moderate- or high-energy) HI that induced the “saddle-shaped” dose-survival effect. In addition, the “saddle-shaped” dose-survival effect was general among ~ 30-genera microbes. More importantly, most of the saddle regions contained the survival fractions within 10–30%, which are customarily used to screen mutants due to a high positive mutation rate. Further, 87% of the maximum positive mutation rates were associated with the saddle region, and 58% were located in the peak of the saddle region. “Saddle-shaped” dose-survival effect is a reliable and general phenomenon among varieties of microbes customarily in response to low-energy HI. Meanwhile, saddle region is always accompanied with high positive mutation rates. Thus, this study will aid in microbial mutation breeding practices.


Bibliometric analysis Heavy ion beam irradiation Microbial mutation breeding “Saddle-shaped” survival curve Positive mutation rate 



The authors would like to thank the colleagues at HIRFL for providing high-quality carbon ion beam irradiation.


This work was supported by Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Deployment Project (no. KFZD-SW-109), joint project of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Industrial Technology Research Institute (CAS-ITRI 201801), and the National Natural Science Fund of China (no. 11575259).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals


Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

13213_2019_1442_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (431 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 430 kb)


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Copyright information

© Università degli studi di Milano 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaopeng Guo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miaomiao Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yue Gao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenjian Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dong Lu
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Modern PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Gansu Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources Exploitation and ApplicationLanzhouChina

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