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article imagePlasma, an antibiotic alternative?

By Tim Sandle     Oct 7, 2013 in Health
Plasmas, by effectively destroying many bacteria, constitute an alternative to chemical disinfectants and potentially to antibiotics. A new report charts how this might happen.
Plasma is the fourth state of matter (following on from solids, liquids and gases). A plasma is an ionized gas, a gas into which sufficient energy is provided to free electrons from atoms or molecules and to allow both species, ions and electrons, to coexist. The use of plasma has been established as a disinfection mechanism for several years. With the process, cold atmospheric-pressure plasmas attack the bacterial cell envelope, proteins and DNA.
So far plasmas have been directed towards large scale sterilization. However, scientists now think that they can develop plasmas for specific applications, for example for treating chronic wounds or for root canal disinfection.
One of the problems with specific applications and those targeted at people is that scientists have not understood which components of the complex mixture contribute to which extent to the antibacterial effect. Now, with a possible breakthrough, certain reactive particles have been identified which can be safely utilized for wound therapy.
The report has been written by scientists working at the Ruhr-Universität (RUB). The findings have been published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The paper is titled “Photons and particles emitted from cold atmospheric-pressure plasma inactivate bacteria and biomolecules independently and synergistically.”
More about Plasma, Antibiotics, disinfection, Sterilization
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