A radio-frequency atmospheric pressure argon plasma jet is used for the inactivation of bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) in solutions. The source is characterized by measurements of power dissipation, gas temperature, absolute UV irradiance as well as mass spectrometry measurements of emitted ions. The plasma-induced liquid chemistry is studied by performing liquid ion chromatography and hydrogen peroxide concentration measurements on treated distilled water samples. Additionally, a quantitative estimation of an extensive liquid chemistry induced by the plasma is made by solution kinetics calculations. The role of the different active components of the plasma is evaluated based on either measurements, as mentioned above, or estimations based on published data of measurements of those components. For the experimental conditions being considered in this work, it is shown that the bactericidal effect can be solely ascribed to plasma-induced liquid chemistry, leading to the production of stable and transient chemical species. It is shown that HNO 2, ONOO- and H2O2 are present in the liquid phase in similar quantities to concentrations which are reported in the literature to cause bacterial inactivation. The importance of plasma-induced chemistry at the gas-liquid interface is illustrated and discussed in detail.