Air plasma effect on dental disinfection

S. Duarte, S. P. Kuo, R. M. Murata, C. Y. Chen, D. Saxena, K. J. Huang, S. Popovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A nonthermal low temperature air plasma jet is characterized and applied to study the plasma effects on oral pathogens and biofilms. Experiments were performed on samples of six defined microorganisms' cultures, including those of gram-positive bacteria and fungi, and on a cultivating biofilm sample of Streptococcus mutans UA159. The results show that the plasma jet creates a zone of microbial growth inhibition in each treated sample; the zone increases with the plasma treatment time and expands beyond the entire region directly exposed to the plasma jet. With 30s plasma treatment twice daily during 5 days of biofilm cultivation, its formation was inhibited. The viability of S. mutans cells in the treated biofilms dropped to below the measurable level and the killed bacterial cells concentrated to local regions as manifested by the fluorescence microscopy via the environmental scanning electron microscope. The emission spectroscopy of the jet indicates that its plasma effluent carries an abundance of reactive atomic oxygen, providing catalyst for the observed plasma effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number073503
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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