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"Killing them softly" … challenges in the Bacillus subtilis spore inactivation by plasma sterilization

Raguse, M. and Fuchs, F.M. and Fiebrandt, M. and Stapelmann, K. and Awakowicz, P. and Madela, K. and Laue, M. and Moeller, R. (2017) "Killing them softly" … challenges in the Bacillus subtilis spore inactivation by plasma sterilization. In: 19th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on Bacilli & Gram-Positive Bacteria - Abstractbook. 19th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on Bacilli & Gram-Positive Bacteria, 11–15 June 2017, Berlin, Germany.

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Abstract

The elimination of bacterial endospores is absolutely essential in numerous fields, ranging from hospital hygiene, the food processing industry, all the way to the space industry. A major goal of space exploration is the search for signatures of life forms and biomolecules on other planetary bodies and moons in our solar system. The transfer of microorganisms or biomolecules of terrestrial origin to critical areas of exploration is of particular risk to impact the development and integrity of life-detection missions.1 Plasma sterilization is a promising alternative to conventional sterilization methods for spaceflight purposes. Due to their extraordinary resistance properties, spores of the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis are used as biological indicators for decontamination studies to identify the relevant mechanism that leads to the rapid bacterial inactivation.1,3 Here, we present novel insights into the key factors involved in spore inactivation by low pressure plasma sterilization using a double inductively-coupled plasma reactor. (2,4) In order to standardize the assessment of inactivation efficiencies by plasma discharges, an electrically driven spray deposition device was developed, allowing fast, reproducible, and homogeneous preparation of B. subtilis spore monolayers. We demonstrate that plasma discharges caused significant physical damage to spore surface structures as visualized by atomic force microscopy. A systematic analysis of B. subtilis spores lacking individual coat and crust layers - the first barrier to environmental influences – revealed the coat to be one of the contributing factors in the spore resistance to plasma sterilization. (2-4) Furthermore, we identified spore-specific and general protection mechanisms and DNA repair pathways during spore germination and outgrowth after plasma treatment, leading to a better understanding of the complex molecular mechanisms involved in the inactivation by plasma sterilization processes.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/118083/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:"Killing them softly" … challenges in the Bacillus subtilis spore inactivation by plasma sterilization
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Raguse, M.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (dlr), Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Fuchs, F.M.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (dlr), Cologne, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5669-5655
Fiebrandt, M.Ruhr-University Bochum, Institute of Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology, Bochum, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Stapelmann, K.Ruhr-University Bochum, Institute of Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology, Bochum, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Awakowicz, P.Ruhr-University Bochum, Institute of Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology, Bochum, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Madela, K.Robert Koch Institute, Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy (ZBS 4), Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Laue, M.Robert Koch Institute, Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy (ZBS 4), Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, R.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (dlr), Cologne, Germany; ralf.moeller (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Date:2017
Journal or Publication Title:19th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on Bacilli & Gram-Positive Bacteria - Abstractbook
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:Bacillus subtilis, plasma sterilization
Event Title:19th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE on Bacilli & Gram-Positive Bacteria
Event Location:Berlin, Germany
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:11–15 June 2017
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: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:11 Jan 2018 13:42
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:15

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