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An overview of research using the one atmosphere uniform glow discharge plasma (OAUGDP) for sterilization of surfaces and materials

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3 Author(s)
Montie, T.C. ; Dept. of Microbiol., Tennessee Univ., Knoxville, TN, USA ; Kelly-Wintenberg, K. ; Reece Roth, J.

The medical, food processing, and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning industries are searching for improved pasteurization, disinfection, and sterilization technologies. Candidate techniques must deal with and overcome such problems as thermal sensitivity and destruction by heat, formation of toxic by-products, costs, and inefficiency in performance. We report the results of a plasma source, the One Atmosphere Uniform Glow Discharge Plasma (OAUGDP), which operates at atmospheric pressure in air and produces antimicrobial active species at room temperature, OAUGDP exposures have reduced log numbers of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria, bacterial endospores, yeast, and bacterial viruses on a variety of surfaces. The nature of the surface influenced the degree of lethality, with microorganisms on polypropylene being most sensitive, followed by glass, and cells embedded in agar. Experimental results showed at least a 5 log 10 CFU reduction in bacteria within a range of 50-90 s of exposure. After 10-25 s of exposure, macromolecular leakage and bacterial fragmentation were observed. Vulnerability of cell membranes to reactive oxygen species (ROC) is hypothesized. Results from several novel OAUGDP configurations are presented, including a remote exposure reactor (RER) which uses transported active species to sterilize material located more than 20 cm from the plasma generation site, and a second planar electrode configuration developed for air filter sterilization. Applications of these technologies to the healthcare industry, the food industry, and decontaminating surfaces compromised by biological warfare agents are discussed

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 1 )