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Title: Final Report of “Collaborative research: Fundamental science of low temperature plasma-biological material interactions” (Award# DE-SC0005105)

Low temperature plasma (LTP) treatment of biological tissue is a promising path toward sterilization of bacteria due to its versatility and ability to operate under well-controlled and relatively mild conditions. The present collaborative research of an interdisciplinary team of investigators at University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), and University of California, Berkeley (UCB) focused on establishing our knowledge on low temperature plasma-induced chemical modifications in biomolecules that result in inactivation due to various plasma species, including ions, reactive radicals, and UV/VUV photons. The overall goals of the project were to identify the mechanisms by which low and atmospheric pressure plasma (APP) deactivates endotoxic biomolecules. Additionally, we wanted to understand how deactivation processes depend on the interaction of APP with the environment. Various low pressure plasma sources, a vacuum beam system and several atmospheric pressure plasma sources were used to accomplish these objectives. In our work we elucidated for the first time the role of ions, VUV photons and radicals in biological deactivation of model endotoxic biomolecules, both in a UHV beam system and an inductively coupled, low pressure plasma system, and established the associated atomistic modifications in biomolecules. While we showed that both ions and VUV photons can be verymore » efficient in deactivation of biomolecules, significant etching and/or deep modification (~200 nm) were accompanied by these biological effects. One of the most important findings in this work is that the significant deactivation and surface modification can occur with minimal etching using radical species. However, if radical fluxes and corresponding etch rates are relatively high, for example, at atmospheric pressure, inactivation of endotoxic biomolecule film may require near-complete removal of the film. These findings motivated further work at atmospheric pressure using several types of low temperature plasma sources with modified geometry where radical induced interactions generally dominate due to short mean free paths of ions and VUV photons. In these conditions we demonstrated the importance of environmental interactions of plasma species when APP sources are used to modify biomolecules. This is evident from both gas phase characterization data and in-situ surface characterization of treated biomolecules. Environmental interactions can produce unexpected outcomes due to the complex reactions of reactive species with the atmosphere which determine the composition of reactive fluxes and atomistic changes in biomolecules. Overall, this work elucidated a richer spectrum of scientific opportunities and challenges for the field of low temperature plasma-biomolecule surface interactions than initially anticipated, in particular, for plasma sources operating at atmospheric pressure. The insights produced in this work, e.g. demonstration of the importance of environmental interactions, are generally important for applications of APP to materials modifications. Thus one major contributions of this research has been the establishment of methodologies to study the interaction of plasma with bio-molecules in a systemic and rigorous manner. In particular, our studies of atmospheric pressure plasma sources using very well-defined experimental conditions enabled us to correlate atomistic surface modifications of biomolecules with changes in their biological function. The clarification of the role of ions, VUV photons and radicals in deactivation of biomolecules during low pressure and atmospheric pressure plasma-biomolecule interaction has broad implications, e.g. for the emerging field of plasma medicine. The development of methods to detect the effects of plasma treatment on immune-active biomolecules will lay a fundamental foundation to enhance our understanding of the effect of plasma on biological systems. be helpful in many future studies.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; low temperature plasma; plasma-biological material interactions; atmospheric pressure plasma sources; plasma-based sterilization