Application of post-discharge region of atmospheric pressure argon and air plasma jet in the contamination control of Candida albicans biofilms

Introduction:Candida species are responsible for about 80% of hospital fungal infections. Non-thermal plasmas operated at atmospheric pressure are increasingly used as an alternative to existing antimicrobial strategy. This work investigates the action of post-discharge region of a non-thermal atmospheric plasma jet, generated by a gliding arc reactor, on biofilms of standard strain of Candida albicans grown on polyurethane substrate. Methods Samples were divided into three groups: (i) non-treated; (ii) treated with argon plasma, and (iii) treated with argon plus air plasma. Subsequently to plasma treatment, counting of colony-forming units (CFU/ml) and cell viability tests were performed. In addition, the surface morphology of the samples was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical profilometry (OP). Results Reduction in CFU/ml of 85% and 88.1% were observed in groups ii and iii, respectively. Cell viability after treatment also showed reduction of 33% in group ii and 8% in group iii, in comparison with group i (100%). The SEM images allow observation of the effect of plasma chemistry on biofilm structure, and OP images showed a reduction of its surface roughness, which suggests a possible loss of biofilm mass. Conclusion The treatment in post-discharge region and the chemistries of plasma jet tested in this work were effective in controlling Candida albicans biofilm contamination. Finally, it was evidenced that argon plus air plasma was the most efficient to reduce cell viability.