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A note on the possible electrostatic disruption of bacteria

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3 Author(s)
Mendis, D.A. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., California Univ., San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA ; Rosenberg, M. ; Azam, F.

Recently published scanning electron and transmission electron photomicrographs of cells of the bacterium Escherichia coli exposed to plasma glow discharges at atmospheric pressure indicate physical disruption of their outer cell membranes. However, the mechanism of cell disruption was unclear. Here, we propose and model an electrophysical mechanism for this phenomenon, namely, the electrostatic disruption of the cell membrane, which takes place when it has acquired a sufficient electrostatic charge that the outward electrostatic stress exceeds its tensile strength. It also appears that surface roughness or irregularity would render it more sensitive to electrostatic disruption

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Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 4 )