Antimicrobial efficiency of non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma processed water (PPW) against agricultural relevant bacteria suspensions

Abstract Currently used methods for decontamination and sanitation are antimicrobial ineffective, generate high costs with a high consumption of water and chemicals additionally. As an alternative, non-thermal plasma at atmospheric pressure could be a versatile tool. Therefore, an experimental set-up based on a microwave-plasma source which generates plasma processed air (PPA) containing manifold RNS-based chemical and antimicrobial compounds was used. The PPA was introduced into distilled water, phosphate buffered saline (PBS) or nutrient broth to generate plasma processed water (PPW), plasma processed PBS (PPP) or plasma processed broth (PPB) which can be applied for the decontamination of packaging material, fresh produce and processing equipment. This is a new and innovative method for the generation of antimicrobial active plasma processed liquids (PPL). In our experiments, bacterial suspensions contaminated with six different bacteria; Escherichia coli K12 (DSM 11250), Pseudomonas fluorescens (DSM 50090), Pseudomonas fluorescens (RIPAC), Pseudomonas marginalis (DSM 13124), Pectobacterium carotovorum (DSM 30168) and Listeria innocua (DSM 20649) in a concentration of 106 cfu . ml-1 and subsequently treated with PPW, PPP, PPB and HNO3 were investigated. For PPL production, the plasma was ignited for 5, 15 or 50 s. After a post-plasma treatment with PPL of maximum 5 minutes, a decrease of bacterial load up to 6 log steps were detected for examined bacteria. Furthermore, an exclusive inactivation by acidification of PPL was excluded. The characteristics of plasma and its generated cocktail of long living chemical compounds in air and in water leading to a high bacterial inactivation and offering a wide range of possible applications.

Keywords fresh food, microbial inactivation, non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma, plasma processed water.


  • microwave plasma processed liquids used successfully for bacterial inactivation
  • 3 different plasma processed liquids, distilled water, PBS and nutrient broth were investigated and their antimicrobial efficacy compared among each other and to HNO3 solution
  • decontamination by plasma up to 6.0 log steps for potential human and phytopathogens were achieved.
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