Biodeactivation of lipopolysaccharide correlates with surface-bound NO3 after cold atmospheric plasma treatment

Elliot A.J. Bartis, Pingshan Luan, Andrew J. Knoll, David B. Graves, Joonil Seog, Gottlieb S. Oehrlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) treatment of biological surfaces results in important changes of biological functions, but little knowledge on specific surface-chemical changes is available. We measured surface-bound NO3 on polymer and biomolecular films after CAP treatment. An O2/N2-based surface microdischarge was used to deactivate lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an immune-stimulating biomolecule found in Gram negative bacteria. The observed LPS biodeactivation was highest for low N2 concentrations in O2, increased roughly linearly with surface NO3, and then saturated. NO3 was also observed after treatment by a very different source: an atmospheric pressure plasma jet operating with an Ar carrier gas. Thus, NO3 formation is a generic surface chemical modification of these materials by CAP sources. We report on measurements of surface-bound NO3 on a variety of materials after treatment by both an atmospheric pressure plasma jet and surface microdischarge. This species forms on polymers containing neither nitrogen nor oxygen, indicating that it forms in the gas phase. The concentration of surface-bound NO3, not general oxidation, correlates with the biodeactivation of lipopolysaccharide, a pyrogenic biomolecule. This is the first attempt to correlate a specific surface moiety with biological function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-418
Number of pages9
JournalPlasma Processes and Polymers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Polymers and Plastics


  • plasma jet
  • sterilization
  • surface discharges
  • surface modification


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