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  • Cited by 15
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

12 - Plasma Biology and Plasma Medicine

Summary

Plasma biology and medicine are rapidly growing new areas of non-thermal plasma science and engineering. Not so long ago, biomedical applications of non-thermal plasma were mostly focused on surface sterilization as well as treatment of different surfaces to control their compatibility with biomaterials. Now, plasma is also applied in solving novel sophisticated problems of tissue engineering, sterilization of reusable heat-sensitive medical instruments, and of large-volume air and water streams. Recently, non-thermal plasmas have also been directly applied in medicine, in treatment of living tissues, including sterilization and healing of wounds, blood coagulation, and treatment of skin deceases. Such applications are to be discussed, starting with the biological and finishing with the medical.

Non-Thermal Plasma Sterilization of Different Surfaces: Mechanisms of Plasma Sterilization

Non-thermal plasma is an effective source of active species and factors, such as radicals, ions, excited atoms and molecules, UV radiation and so on, which are able to deactivate, kill, or even completely disintegrate bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms without any significant temperature effects. It attracts interest to plasma applications in sterilization and disinfection. Disinfection usually implies a couple-order-of-magnitude reduction of populations of micro-organisms, while sterilization usually requires at least a 104–105-fold reduction in the number of micro-organisms. This section focuses on plasma sterilization and disinfection of different non-living surfaces (such as, for example, medical instruments and equipment).The following sections focus on sterilization of air and water streams, as well as on sterilization of living tissues (such as, for example, human skin and organs in vivo).

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