Bactericidal efficacy of atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma (APNTP) against the ESKAPE pathogens

Padrig B. Flynn, Sarah Higginbotham, Nid'a H. Alshraiedeh, Sean P. Gorman, William G. Graham, Brendan F. Gilmore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


The emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens within the clinical environment is presenting a mounting problem in hospitals worldwide. The 'ESKAPE' pathogens (Enterococcusfaecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter spp.) have been highlighted as a group of causative organisms in a majority of nosocomial infections, presenting a serious health risk due to widespread antimicrobial resistance. The stagnating pipeline of new antibiotics requires alternative approaches to the control and treatment of nosocomial infections. Atmospheric pressure nonthermal plasma (APNTP) is attracting growing interest as an alternative infection control approach within the clinical setting. This study presents a comprehensive bactericidal assessment of an in-house-designed APNTP jet both against biofilms and planktonic bacteria of the ESKAPE pathogens. Standard plate counts and the XTT metabolic assay were used to evaluate the antibacterial effect of APNTP, with both methods demonstrating comparable eradication times. APNTP exhibited rapid antimicrobial activity against all of the ESKAPE pathogens in the planktonic mode of growth and provided efficient and complete eradication of ESKAPE pathogens in the biofilm mode of growth within 360 s, with the exception of A. baumannii where a >4log reduction in biofilm viability was observed. This demonstrates its effectiveness as a bactericidal treatment against these pathogens and further highlights its potential application in the clinical environment for the control of highly antimicrobial-resistant pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Atmospheric pressure plasma
  • Biocide
  • Biofilm
  • ESKAPE pathogens
  • Non-thermal plasma
  • Plasma medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • General Medicine


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