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Impact on disinfection efficiency of cell load and of planktonic/adherent/detached state: case of Hafnia alvei inactivation by Plasma Activated Water


This paper describes the effects of initial microbial concentration and planktonic/adherent/detached states on the efficiency of plasma-activated water. This disinfecting solution was obtained by treating distilled water with an atmospheric pressure plasma produced by gliding electric discharges in humid air. The inactivation kinetics of planktonic cells of Hafnia alvei (selected as a bacterial model) were found to be of the first order. They were influenced by the initial microbial concentration. Efficiency decreased when the initial viable population N 0 increased, and the inactivation rate k max was linearly modified as a function of Log10 (N 0). This relation was used to compare planktonic, adherent, and detached cells independently from the level of population. Bacteria adhering to stainless steel and high-density polyethylene were also sensitive to treatment, but at a lower rate than their free-living counterparts. Moreover, cells detached from these solid substrates exhibited an inactivation rate lower than that of planktonic cells but similar to adherent bacteria. This strongly suggests the induction of a physiological modification to bacteria during the adhesion step, rendering adherent—and further detached—bacteria less susceptible to the treatment, when compared to planktonic bacteria.

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The authors would like to thank the “Microbiologie et Chaine Alimentaire” Department (MICA, INRA, France), and especially Claude Gaillardin, head of this department, for providing partial financial support for Georges Kamgang Youbi’s thesis. Georges Kamgang Youbi also received financial support from the “Service de la Coopération et d’Action Culturelle (SCAC)” at the French Embassy in Cameroon, via an EGIDE scholarship. All this support is greatly appreciated. The authors also thank Romain Briandet and Thierry Meylheuc for CSLM and SEM observations, respectively.

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Correspondence to Murielle Naïtali.

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Kamgang-Youbi, G., Herry, J., Brisset, J. et al. Impact on disinfection efficiency of cell load and of planktonic/adherent/detached state: case of Hafnia alvei inactivation by Plasma Activated Water. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 81, 449–457 (2008).

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  • Plasma-activated water (PAW)
  • Glidarc
  • Non-thermal plasma
  • Initial cell load
  • Sessile bacteria
  • Released bacteria
  • Disinfection