Development of next-generation sterilization method by a plasma flow at atmospheric pressure

Features and Uniqueness
  • Plasma sterilization has been developed as an alternative sterilization method due to its chemical activity, operation at low temperature and atmospheric pressure, low power consumption, low cost and safety. We have studied a mechanism of chemical species generation and transport in a plasma flow and, the sterilization efficacy and mechanism for several plasma sources at atmospheric pressure, such as a microwave plasma flow, a dielectric barrier discharge in a tube and a water vapor plasma flow. We already clarified that the damages of outer membrane and destructions of the cytoplasmic membrane of Escherichia coli by exposure to the microwave plasma flow. Fig. 1 shows the effect of plasma exposure on the E. coli. When the E. coli was exposed to the plasma, the height of the E. coli decreased and the potassium leakage of cytoplasmic material increased. For sterilization in a tube, we also clarified that an induced flow in the narrow tube by DBD transports chemical species and sterilize the whole inside surface of a tube as shown in Fig. 2. We hope to conduct collaborative research with a willing company for a practical application of this technology in industry.


Institute of Fluid Science

Takehiko Sato, Professor
Doctor of Engineering