Analysis of the antimicrobial effects of nonthermal plasma on fungal spores in ionic solutions

Min Ho Kang, Young June Hong, Pankaj Attri, Geon Bo Sim, Geon Joon Lee, Kamonporn Panngom, Gi Chung Kwon, Eun Ha Choi, Han S. Uhm, Gyungsoon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The antimicrobial efficiency of reactive species-based control strategies is significantly affected by the dynamics of reactive species in the biological environment. Atmospheric-pressure nonthermal plasma is an ionized gas in which various reactive species are produced. The various levels of antimicrobial activity may result from the dynamic interaction of the plasma-generated reactive species with the environment. However, the nature of the interaction between plasma and environments is poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the influence of the ionic strength of surrounding solutions (environment) on the antimicrobial activity of plasma in relation to the plasma-generated reactive species using a model filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa. Our data revealed that the presence of sodium chloride (NaCl) in the background solution attenuated the deleterious effects of plasma on germination, internal structure, and genomic DNA of fungal spores. The protective effects of NaCl were not explained exclusively by pH, osmotic stability, or the level of reactive species in the solution. These were strongly associated with the ionic strength of the background solution. The presence of ions reduced plasma toxicity, which might be due to a reduced access of reactive species to fungal spores, and fungal spores were inactivated by plasma in a background fluid of nonionic osmolytes despite the low level of reactive species. Our results suggest that the surrounding environment may affect the behavior of reactive species, which leads to different biological consequences regardless of their quantity. Moreover, the microbicidal effect of plasma can be synergistically regulated through control of the microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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