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Plasma Life Science

Plasma Life Science is concerned with investigations into the fundamentals and application of cold atmospheric pressure plasma in the field of life sciences. Within this framework, the interactions of plasmas with liquids, with micro-organisms and micro-algae and with tissues are investigated and supplemented by corresponding model calculations and simulations. Research will pursue new approaches in plasma technology for its use in decontamination, hygiene, medicine and also in pharmacys. 

In addition, new plasma sources are tested with standardised tests for their biological activity and antimicrobial effectiveness. To accomplish this work, INP has special laboratories with modern equipment and an extensive research infrastructure.

TECHNOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT

The microbiological investigations include the characterisation of atmospheric pressure plasma sources with regard to their antimicrobial effect in S2 laboratories. For these experiments the laboratories are equipped for all common microbiological investigations:

  • Safety workbenches for sterile work
  • Spiral plate system for the determination of live cell count
  • Spectrophotometer for colourimetric detection methods and determination of optical density
  • Fluorescence microscope
  • Central gas supply with gas flow controller

A strain collection comprises a variety of bacteria and yeasts, which are cultivated as required for the individual experiments. Plasma sources to be tested can be set up in the laboratories and are connected to a central gas supply (Argon, He, N2, O2, CO2 etc.).

In the cell biology area, several S2 laboratories are available for molecular biological and functional analyses of the effects of plasma on metabolism, vitality and expression patterns in order to substantiate clinical applications or open up new applications. For these analyses, the laboratories are equipped with the following methods:  

  • Quantitative and qualitative protein analysis by Western blots, Protein Simple, ELISA, 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis
  • Histochemical and immunohistochemical workplace (IF, ICH)
  • Gene expression analyses by microarrays, qPCR, gene transfer systems
  • Fluorescence microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, life cell imaging

The interaction of plasma with liquids plays a central role for many different applications of atmospheric pressure plasmas, as they are particularly relevant in plasma medicine, plasma pharmacy or plasma agriculture. Reactive species can either be transported from the gas phase into the liquid or form themselves in the gas-liquid interface. The effectiveness of plasma treatments depends largely on the type and concentration of reactive species in the liquid. Various analytical methods are used to investigate these processes:

  • UV and FTIR spectroscopy
  • Ion chromatography
  • Electrochemical analyses, voltammetry
  • HPLC etc.
  • Modelling of the interaction of cold atmospheric plasmas with biologically relevant fluids for applications in the life science field
  • Flow simulation and modelling of chemical processes for atmospheric pressure plasma jets.