Intensified inactivation of model and environmental bacteria by an atmospheric-pressure air-liquid discharge plasma compared with chlorination

Lei Wang , Mingli Shao , Chengsong Ye , Ting Li , Jiaming Gan , Xin Yu , Carsten Prasse , Xin Yang , Chao Chen , Bin Xu , Xing-Fang Li


Received December 02, 2021,Revised , Accepted January 23, 2022, Available online January 31, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 80-90

Water-borne pathogenic bacteria are always the top priority to be removed through disinfection process in water treatment due to their threat to human health. It was necessary to develop novel disinfection methods since the conventional chlorine disinfection was inefficient in inactivating chlorine-resistant bacteria, inducing the viable but non-culturable (VBNC) bacteria and forming disinfection by-products (DBPs). In this study, the inactivation of four model strains including Gram-negative (G), Gram-positive (G+) and environmental samples by atmospheric-pressure air-liquid discharge plasma (ALDP) was assessed systematically. The results showed that ALDP was superior in inactivating all of the samples compared with chlorination. During 10 min ALDP treatment, the G bacteria were completely inactivated, and the G+ one was inactivated by more than 4.61 logs. The inactivation of bacteria from a campus lake and a wastewater treatment plant effluent exceeded 99.82% and 97.78%, respectively. For G bacteria, ALDP resulted in a much lower (102∼103 times) levels of VBNC cells than chlorination. ALDP could effectively remove the chlorine-resistant bacteria. More than 96.41% of the intracellular DNA and 99.99% of the extracellular DNA were removed, whereas it was only 56.35% and 12.82% for chlorination. ALDP had a stronger ability to destroy cell structure than chlorination, presumably due to the existence of ROS (·OH, 1O2 and O2). GC-MS analysis showed that ALDP produced less DBPs than chlorination. These findings provided new insights for the application of discharge plasma in water disinfection, which could be complemental or alternative to the conventional disinfection methods.

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