Investigations of Bacterial Inactivation and DNA Fragmentation Induced by Flowing Humid Argon Post-discharge
Bio-contaminated surfaces were exposed to an atmospheric pressure flowing post-discharge, i.e. without direct contact of the plasma with the surface. The non-thermal plasma source was a dielectric barrier discharge. Using humid argon as a feed gas, a reduction of six orders of magnitude of survivors could be obtained for Escherichia coli. An investigation of bacterial inactivation mechanisms during the plasma induced treatment was conducted. For this purpose, DNA (plasmid and genomic DNA in aqueous solution) degradation by the plasma process was studied, assuming that the bacterial inactivation is obtained when the bacterial DNA is fragmented. According to the operating conditions (feed gas, reactor geometry and discharge input power), DNA fragmentation was evaluated in correlation with aqueous phase hydrogen peroxide concentration measurements. It appears that hydrogen peroxide is not the only factor responsible for DNA fragmentation and that short-lived species produced by water dissociation are major contributors.
KeywordsInput Power Plasma Treatment Dielectric Barrier Discharge Water Vapor Content Water Dissociation
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