An experimental study of ATCC (American Type Culture Collection) 8739 Escherichia coli bacteria inactivation in water by means of pulsed dielectric barrier discharge (PDBD) atmospheric pressure plasmas is presented. Plasma is generated by an adjustable power source capable of supplying high voltage 25 kV pulses, ∼30 μs long and at a 500 Hz frequency. The process was conducted in a ∼152 cm3 cylindrical stainless steel coaxial reactor, endowed with a straight central electrode and a gas inlet. The bacterial concentration in water was varied from 103 up to 108E. coli cells per millilitre. The inactivation was achieved without gas flow in the order of 82% at 108 colony-forming units per millilitre (CFU mL–1) concentrations in 600 s. In addition, oxygen was added to the gas supply in order to increase the ozone content in the process, raising the inactivation percentage to the order of 90% in the same treatment time. In order to reach a higher efficiency however, oxygen injection modulation is applied, leading to inactivation percentages above 99.99%. These results are similarly valid for lower bacterial concentrations.

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