Bactericidal effect of corona discharges in atmospheric air

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The present paper explores the possibilities of using impulsive and steady-state corona discharges for bio-decontamination operations. A high tension tubular corona electrode was stressed with positive or negative dc voltage with magnitude up to 26 kV, and a grounded mesh was used as an opposite electrode. Different operational regimes of this corona generator were investigated for the production of ozone in air flow and the inactivation of microorganisms. The test microorganisms used in this work were Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, populations of which were seeded onto agar plates. These bacterial plates were located behind the grounded mesh electrode to assess bactericidal efficacy. The results show that corona discharges have a strong bactericidal effect, for example positive flashing corona discharges were able to reduce populations of the test microorganism by 94% within a 30-60 sec time interval. Negative steady-state corona discharges also produce noticeable bactericidal effect, reducing population of E. coli and S. aureus by more than 97% within 120 sec energisation interval. The bactericidal efficiency of different corona discharge modes and its correlation with ozone levels produced by these discharges is discussed. The results obtained in this work will help in the design and development of compact plasma systems for environmental applications
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2322 - 2333
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number10
Early online date30 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • atmospheric air
  • corona
  • plasma science
  • corona discharges
  • inactivation of microorganisms
  • escherichia coli
  • staphylococcus aureus


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