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Biotechnology
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 8  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 228 - 234

Augmented Survival of Bacteria Within Biofilms to Exposure to an Atmospheric Pressure Non-Thermal Plasma Source

S. Salamitou, M.J. Kirkpatrick, H.M. Ly, G. Leblon, E. Odic and M.S. DuBow    

Abstract: Bacteria embedded within biofilms present a challenge to surface decontamination by conventional means. Atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma processes have emerged as a promising approach to overcome this problem. We used a non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma, operated in a humid atmosphere, to assess planctonic versus biofilm-resident bacterial (Escherichia coli) susceptibility to treatment. The concentrations of stable chemical species at the treatment reactor gas outlet were monitored by FTIR. The decontamination efficiency of the process was evaluated against bacteria embedded within a biofilm, as well as planctonic cells placed on a glass surface. Bacterial survival was assessed using a combination of Colony Forming Unit (CFU) ability and vital staining with a combination of DAPI plus Propidium Iodide. Both methods revealed an increased resistance of biofilm-resident bacteria, when compared to planctonic cells, after a 40 min exposure to the post discharge gas. Present results show that biofilm-resident bacteria demonstrate augmented survival when exposed to atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma treatment and thus that decontamination procedures should take into account this survival when evaluating surface decontamination measures.

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