Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (APP) is a recent, cutting-edge antimicrobial treatment. It has the potential to be used as an alternative to traditional treatments such as antibiotics and as a promoter of wound healing, making it a promising tool in a range of biomedical applications with particular importance for combating infections. A number of studies show very promising results for APP-mediated killing of bacteria, including removal of biofilms of pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, the mode of action of APP and the resulting bacterial response are not fully understood. Use of a variety of different plasma-generating devices, different types of plasma gases and different treatment modes makes it challenging to show reproducibility and transferability of results. This review considers some important studies in which APP was used as an antibacterial agent, and specifically those that elucidate its mode of action, with the aim of identifying common bacterial responses to APP exposure. The review has a particular emphasis on mechanisms of interactions of bacterial biofilms with APP. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. and the International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.
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