Biomedical Engineering - Frontiers and Challenges by R. Fazel-Rezai

By R. Fazel-Rezai

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Fig. 6. , 2007)]. 34 Biomedical Engineering – Frontiers and Challenges Mendis et al. , 2000) also suggested that charged particles might play a significant role in the rupture of outer cell membranes. According to these authors, charge accumulation on the outer surface of the membrane induces an electrostatic force, which can overcome the tensile strength of the membrane causing its rupture. They also state that this mechanism is only effective for Gram-negative bacteria, which posses thin outer membranes and a thin murein layer.

This chapter on plasma sterilization is organized as follows: a first part will focus on the inactivation of bacteria on non-living surfaces, which has reached a state of maturity. In this first section, the kinetics of bacterial inactivation processes will be described, followed by the effects of various plasma-generated agents on bacterial cells. Afterwards, a brief review on the inactivation of bacteria on non-living surfaces by vacuum and atmospheric pressure plasmas will be presented. A second part of the chapter will deal with state-of-the-art applications of non-thermal plasmas in bacterial inactivation, namely the sterilization of teeth and human/animal tissue, which are both relatively new research topics.

Pumilus spores. These authors found that spore survival widely varied depending on the composition of the feed gas. In contrast to the results of Hury et al. , 1998), a pure oxygen plasma caused a lower spore mortality that an argon plasma, however, no clear explanation for this observation was given. Experiments also showed that a 50:50% oxygen-argon mixture leads to a much higher spore mortality, while the highest mortality could be achieved by employing moisturized air. Based on this latter result, the authors claim that the presence of water vapour enhances the inactivation process, most likely because of the generation of OH radicals.

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