Learn More

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plasma As Cheap Sterilizers For Medicine

plasma and it diagram for medicine
Plasma and it diagram for medicine (UC Berkeley)
Health care in disaster areas, developing countries, war zones, with a fairly low cost is a challenge. We already know that the neon light, plasma TVs, are useful tools for our entertainment at home. However, the application of the tool is much more useful. The tools were able to sterilize water, kills bacteria.

Therefore, the plasma can do that, and production costs are also cheaper. As well as the plasma does not require a high enough temperature, and free use of chemicals, as is done with bleach, not only that with plasma then we can also replace surgical antibiotics. Scientists from the University of California (UC Berkeley), Berkeley, realize it and have created a plasma device for the purpose mentioned above.

“We know plasmas will kill bacteria in water, but there are so many other possible applications, such as sterilizing medical instruments or enhancing wound healing,” said chemical engineer David Graves, the Lam Research Distinguished Professor in Semiconductor Processing at UC Berkeley. “We could come up with a device to use in the home or in remote areas to replace bleach or surgical antibiotics.”

Low-temperature plasmas as disinfectants are “an extraordinary innovation with tremendous potential to improve health treatments in developing and disaster-stricken regions,” said Phillip Denny, chief administrative officer of UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, which helped fund Graves’ research and has a mission of addressing the needs of the poor worldwide.

“One of the most difficult problems associated with medical facilities in low-resource countries is infection control,” added Graves. “It is estimated that infections in these countries are a factor of three-to-five times more widespread than in the developed world.”

From the results of experiments carried out by Graves and fellow UC Berkeley, the plasma can kill bacteria E. Coli as much as 99.9 percent. These bacteria are very harmful to health, because it can harm the intestines and even cause death. In addition, the plasma can also kill harmful proteins and lipids, including prions, as well as infectious agents that cause mad cow disease. The results of this research has been published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics in November.

In the study published this month, Graves and his UC Berkeley colleagues showed that plasmas generated by brief sparks in air next to a container of water turned the water about as acidic as vinegar and created a cocktail of highly reactive, ionized molecules – molecules that have lost one or more electrons and thus are eager to react with other molecules. They identified the reactive molecules as hydrogen peroxide and various nitrates and nitrites, all well-known antimicrobials. Nitrates and nitrites have been used for millennia to cure meat, for example.

Source: UC Berkeley news center

Post a Comment