7 January 2019

Fighting natural toxins with plasma


I spent 2.5 months in Prof. Jürgen Kolb’s group at the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) in Greifswald, Germany, to study the degradation of cyanotoxins utilizing plasma.

By ESR12 Marcel Schneider

In July 2018, I visited Prof. Kolb and his research group for two weeks for an initial screening of six different plasmas in regard to their applicability for the degradation of a selected cyanotoxin – the model alkaloid cylindrospermopsin. Based on the energy-efficiency and usability of the setups, we decided to perform in-depth follow-up studies on two plasma types – a corona-like plasma in water and a dielectric barrier discharge in air on top of water droplets. These detailed studies were conducted during a two month visit at the INP in late 2018. After optimization of selected parameters, we studied the degradation mechanisms in more detail. Right now, I am processing the data and the results will presumably be prepared for publication in the first half of 2019 – so stay tuned!

Pictures showing three different plasma discharges: pulsed corona-like discharge in water (top left), pulsed surface discharge at the gas-liquid interface (top right) and dielectric barrier discharge at the gas-liquid interface (bottom).

Besides working with this very interesting and fascinating technology, I also had the chance to enjoy the city of Greifswald and share a beer or two with the marvellous scientists of Prof. Kolb’s group.