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Utilization of Low-Pressure Plasma to Inactivate Bacterial Spores on Stainless Steel Screws

Stapelmann, Katharina and Fiebrandt, Marcel and Raguse, Marina and Awakowicz, Peter and Reitz, Günther and Moeller, Ralf (2013) Utilization of Low-Pressure Plasma to Inactivate Bacterial Spores on Stainless Steel Screws. Astrobiology, 13 (7), pp. 597-606. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2012.0949. ISSN 1531-1074.

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Abstract

A special focus area of planetary protection is the monitoring, control, and reduction of microbial contaminations that are detected on spacecraft components and hardware during and after assembly. In this study, wildtype spores of Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 (a persistent spacecraft assembly facility isolate) and the laboratory model organism B. subtilis 168 were used to study the effects of low-pressure plasma, with hydrogen alone and in combination with oxygen and evaporated hydrogen peroxide as a process gas, on spore survival, which was determined by a colony formation assay. Spores of B. pumilus SAFR-032 and B. subtilis 168 were deposited with an aseptic technique onto the surface of stainless steel screws to simulate a spore-contaminated spacecraft hardware component, and were subsequently exposed to different plasmas and hydrogen peroxide conditions in a very high frequency capacitively coupled plasma reactor (VHF-CCP) to reduce the spore burden. Spores of the spacecraft isolate B. pumilus SAFR-032 were significantly more resistant to plasma treatment than spores of B. subtilis 168. The use of low-pressure plasma with an additional treatment of evaporated hydrogen peroxide also led to an enhanced spore inactivation that surpassed either single treatment when applied alone, which indicates the potential application of this method as a fast and suitable way to reduce spore-contaminated spacecraft hardware components for planetary protection purposes.

Document Type:Article
Title:Utilization of Low-Pressure Plasma to Inactivate Bacterial Spores on Stainless Steel Screws
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Stapelmann, Katharina Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology (AEPT), Bochum, Germany.
Fiebrandt, Marcel Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology (AEPT), Bochum, Germany.
Raguse, Marina German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne (Köln), Germany.
Awakowicz, Peter Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology (AEPT), Bochum, Germany.
Reitz, Günther German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne (Köln), Germany.
Moeller, Ralf German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Department, Cologne (Köln), Germany.
Date:2013
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:13
DOI:10.1089/ast.2012.0949
Page Range:pp. 597-606
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
ISSN:1531-1074
Status:Published
Keywords:Bacillus spores, Contamination, Spacecraft hardware, Plasma sterilization, Planetary protection
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kerstin Kopp
Deposited On:26 Aug 2013 12:00
Last Modified:26 Aug 2013 12:00

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