Title: Elimination of Pathogenic Biological Residuals by Means of Low-Pressure Inductively Coupled Plasma Discharge
Publisher: WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC57668
ISBN: 978-3-527-32544-3
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC57668
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The possibility to use low-pressure, nonequilibrium plasma discharges for decontamination and sterilization of surfaces of medical equipment is nowadays gaining increased attention. The primary interest of this technique is related mainly to its capability to inactivate effectively infectious microorganisms including highly resistant bacterial spores [1-3] without using toxic substances and at low-temperature process conditions required for the treatment of heat degradable materials. Moreover, recent results revealed the ability of plasma discharges to inactivate or also eliminate other kinds of biological pathogens such as bacterial endotoxins [3-5] or proteins [3, 6-8]. Especially, the latter makes the plasma treatment a real alternative to the commonly used decontamination techniques that are in many cases insufficient to assure complete elimination of residual biological contamination.'' Naturally, distinct characteristics of biological pathogens imply different strategies for their destruction: living microorganisms can be readily inactivated by intense UV radiation emitted by plasma discharges [1], in contrast to the elimination of pathogenic biomolecules from surfaces, where physicochemical removal is needed [l0]. However, it is clear that any process that is intended to be effective and universal for complete elimination of biological contamination has to combine both pathways. Recently, it has been suggested that this can be fulfilled by using an inductively coupled plasma (ICP) discharge sustained in a ternary Ar/02/N2 discharge mixture combining high emission of UV radiation in the spectral range suitable for the sterilization of bacterial spores with fast erosion and removal of biomolecules [11, 12]. Nevertheless, the latter has been, up to now, demonstrated solely on bovine serum albumin and no effort has been devoted to test whether it is possible to eliminate a wider range of biological agents, that is, an aspect important for the demonstration of the universality of this sterilization/decontamination approach. Therefore, in this study to fill this experimental gap, the feasibility of low-pressure Ar/02/N2 ICP discharge to remove other biological systems differing significantly in their properties, namely, bacterial spores and biomolecules in general, is investigated. Moreover, to highlight the advantageous properties of Ar/02/N2 mixture, the results are compared directly with the results obtained by using Ar and Ar/Oz plasma treatment.
JRC Directorate:Institute for Health and Consumer Protection Historical Collection

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