NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Impact of low-temperature plasmas on Deinococcus radiodurans and biomoleculesThe effects of cold plasma on Deinococcus radiodurans, plasmid DNA, and model proteins were assessed using microbiological, spectrometric, and biochemical techniques. In low power O(2) plasma (approximately 25 W, approximately 45 mTorr, 90 min), D. radiodurans, a radiation-resistant bacterium, showed a 99.999% reduction in bioburden. In higher power O(2) plasma (100 W and 500 mTorr), the reduction rate increased about 10-fold and observation by atomic force microscopy showed significant damage to the cell. Damage to cellular lipids, proteins, and chromosome was indicated by losses of infrared spectroscopic peaks at 2930, 1651, 1538, and 1245 cm(-1), respectively. In vitro experiments show that O(2) plasmas induce DNA strand scissions and cross-linking as well as reduction of enzyme activity. The observed degradation and removal of biomolecules was power-dependent. Exposures to 200 W at 500 mTorr removed biomolecules to below detection limits in 60 s. Emission spectroscopy indicated that D. radiodurans cells were volatilized into CO(2), CO, N(2), and H(2)O, confirming that these plasmas were removing complex biological matter from surfaces. A CO(2) plasma was not as effective as the O(2) plasma, indicating the importance of plasma composition and the dominant role of chemical degradation. Together, these findings have implications for NASA planetary protection schemes and for the contamination of Mars.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Mogul, Rakesh (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field CA United States)
Bol'shakov, Alexander A.
Chan, Suzanne L.
Stevens, Ramsey M.
Khare, Bishun N.
Meyyappan, M.
Trent, Jonathan D.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Biotechnology progress
Volume: 19
Issue: 3
ISSN: 8756-7938
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Evaluation Studies
Validation Studies