Eradication of marine biofilms by atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma: A potential approach to control biofouling?

Mahmoud Y. Alkawareek, Sean P. Gorman, William G. Graham, Brendan F. Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Although the antimicrobial activity of atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasmas, including its capacity to eradicate microbial biofilms, has been gaining an ever increasing interest for different medical applications, its potential utilisation in the control of biofouling and biodeterioration has, to date, received no attention. In this study, the ability of atmospheric pressure plasma to eradicate biofilms of four biofouling bacterial species, frequently encountered in marine environments, was investigated. Biofilms were grown on both polystyrene and stainless steel surfaces before being exposed to the plasma source. Viability and biomass of biofilms were evaluated using colony count method and differential Live/Dead fluorescence staining followed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Rapid and complete eradication of all biofilms under study was achieved after plasma exposures ranging from 60 to 120 s. Confocal microscopy examination showed that plasma treatment has mediated not only cell killing but also varying degrees of physical removal of biofilms. Further investigation and tailored development of atmospheric pressure non-thermal plasma sources for this particular application could provide an additional powerful and effective weapon in the current anti-biofouling armamentarium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Biodeterioration & Biodegradation
Issue numberA
Early online date01 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014


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