Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) is a promising nonthermal technology effective against a wide range of pathogenic microorganisms. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial inactivation role when air or other oxygen-containing gases are used. With strong oxidative stress, cells can be damaged by lipid peroxidation, enzyme inactivation, and DNA cleavage. Identification of ROS and an understanding of their role are important for advancing ACP applications for a range of complex microbiological issues. In this study, the inactivation efficacy of in-package high-voltage (80 kV [root mean square]) ACP (HVACP) and the role of intracellular ROS were investigated. Two mechanisms of inactivation were observed in which reactive species were found to either react primarily with the cell envelope or damage intracellular components. Escherichia coli was inactivated mainly by cell leakage and low-level DNA damage. Conversely, Staphylococcus aureus was mainly inactivated by intracellular damage, with significantly higher levels of intracellular ROS observed and little envelope damage. However, for both bacteria studied, increasing treatment time had a positive effect on the intracellular ROS levels generated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology