Identification of the biologically active liquid chemistry induced by a nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma jet

Kristian Wende, Paul Williams, Joe Dalluge, Wouter Van Gaens, Hamada Aboubakr, John Bischof, Thomas Von Woedtke, Sagar M. Goyal, Klaus Dieter Weltmann, Annemie Bogaerts, Kai Masur, Peter J. Bruggeman

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233 Scopus citations


The mechanism of interaction of cold nonequilibrium plasma jets with mammalian cells in physiologic liquid is reported. The major biological active species produced by an argon RF plasma jet responsible for cell viability reduction are analyzed by experimental results obtained through physical, biological, and chemical diagnostics. This is complemented with chemical kinetics modeling of the plasma source to assess the dominant reactive gas phase species. Different plasma chemistries are obtained by changing the feed gas composition of the cold argon based RF plasma jet from argon, humidified argon (0.27%), to argon/oxygen (1%) and argon/air (1%) at constant power. A minimal consensus physiologic liquid was used, providing isotonic and isohydric conditions and nutrients but is devoid of scavengers or serum constituents. While argon and humidified argon plasma led to the creation of hydrogen peroxide dominated action on the mammalian cells, argon-oxygen and argon-air plasma created a very different biological action and was characterized by trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide only. In particular, for the argon-oxygen (1%), the authors observed a strong negative effect on mammalian cell proliferation and metabolism. This effect was distance dependent and showed a half life time of 30 min in a scavenger free physiologic buffer. Neither catalase and mannitol nor superoxide dismutase could rescue the cell proliferation rate. The strong distance dependency of the effect as well as the low water solubility rules out a major role for ozone and singlet oxygen but suggests a dominant role of atomic oxygen. Experimental results suggest that O reacts with chloride, yielding Cl2- or ClO-. These chlorine species have a limited lifetime under physiologic conditions and therefore show a strong time dependent biological activity. The outcomes are compared with an argon MHz plasma jet (kinpen) to assess the differences between these (at least seemingly) similar plasma sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number029518
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

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© 2015 American Vacuum Society.


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