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Nonthermal gas discharges at atmospheric pressure, such as dielectric barrier discharges are currently investigated for low-temperature packaging sterilization in order to reach the conditions required for aseptic food packaging. In particular, understanding the basic sterilization mechanisms and the enhancement of the main bacterial reduction pathways are the goals of our investigations. For this purpose, germ reduction experiments were carried out with Bacillus Subtilis and Aspergillus Niger spores using different gas mixtures and plasma conditions with the direct and the indirect influence of barrier discharges. In order to analyze the contribution of UV radiation during plasma germ deactivation, experiments with different excimer UV lamps, also driven by barrier discharges in special UV-emitting gas mixtures, have been carried out. Results of germ reduction experiments using barrier discharges and prospects for atmospheric discharge systems, suitable for industrial packaging sterilization, are presented in this paper.