To date, most research on the interaction of nonequilibrium, atmospheric pressure plasma discharges with bacteria has concentrated on the germicidal effects. Therefore, published results deal mainly with killing efficacy and little attention is given to physical mechanisms and biochemical pathways and their potential alterations when cells of microorganisms are exposed to the plasma. In this letter, an attempt to investigate the effects of plasma exposure on the biochemical pathways of bacteria is presented. In addition, using electron microscopy, we investigate if any gross morphological changes take place when cells are exposed to a lethal dose of plasma. We are testing the hypothesis that disruption of the cell membrane, sometimes to the point of cell lysis, is the mechanism whereby plasma kills cells.

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