Etching of bacterial capsule and cell wall by oxygen plasma afterflow
Journal Paper IEEE transactions on plasma science, ISSN 0093-3813. [Print ed.], 2011, vol. 39, no. 11, pp. 2972-2973
Sterilization of delicate materials by gaseous plasma
represents an interesting task for plasma scientists. While sporulating bacteria are rather resistant to weak plasma treatments,
some bacteria are destroyed even in an afterglow. A representative type of nonsporulating bacteria is
Staphylococcus aureus. Such bacteria are destroyed by treatment with mostly neutral O atoms found in oxygen plasma afterglow. The degradation steps are followed by atomic force microscopy. The bacteria remain vital for about 2 min of treatment at the O flux of about
1.3×1022m-2·s-1. The bacterial capsule is removed in about 2 min. Once the capsule is removed, degradation of the cell wall occurs, causing bacterial death.