A recent study has revealed that cold plasma jets could offer a safe and powerful alternative to antibiotics.
A ten-minute low-temperature plasma treatment did not only kill drug-resistant bacteria causing wound infections in rats but also increased the rate of wound healing.
The findings of Russian and German researchers have suggested that cold plasmas might be a promising method to treat chronic wound infections where other approaches fail.
The team from the Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow tested a low-temperature plasma torch against bacterial species including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
The scientists showed not only that plasma was lethal to up to 99 percent of bacteria in laboratory-grown biofilms after five minutes, but also that plasma killed about 90 percent of the bacteria (on average) infecting skin wounds in rats after ten minutes.
Svetlana Ermolaeval, who conducted the research, explained that the recent development of cold plasmas with temperatures of 35-40 degree Celsius makes the technology an attractive option for treating infections.
"Cold plasmas are able to kill bacteria by damaging microbial DNA and surface structures without being harmful to human tissues. Importantly we have shown that plasma is able to kill bacteria growing in biofilms in wounds, although thicker biofilms show some resistance to treatment," he said.
The study was published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.