The interplay between biological and physical scenarios of bacterial death induced by non-thermal plasma

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For decades it was believed that bacteria as unicellular organisms should not have a cellular suicide program (apoptosis). It was counterintuitive to our understanding of evolutionary processes and the driving forces of natural selection. We were the first group to show that physical cues (e.g. non-thermal plasma) trigger apoptosis-like cell death in bacteria. Overall, this study not only reveals underlying molecular mechanisms of plasma action on bacteria, but more importantly provides an additional insight into the evolution of apoptosis in prokaryotes.

The interplay between biological and physical scenarios of bacterial death induced by non-thermal plasma
Description

Non-thermal plasma induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in bacteria. (A) False-coloured SEM images of bacteria exposed to either HV or LV plasma. (B) Results of 3D SRIM simulations of He ion penetration through either Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacterial walls. (C) ROS accumulation after either HV or LV plasma.