Cold atmospheric plasmas are weakly ionized gases that can be generated in ambient air. They produce energetic species (e.g. electrons, metastables) as well as reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, UV radiations and local electric field. Their interaction with a liquid such as tap water can hence change its chemical composition. The resulting “plasma-activated liquid” can meet many applications, including medicine and agriculture.Consequently, a complete experimental set of analytical techniques dedicated to the characterization of long lifetime chemical species has been implemented to characterize tap water treated using cold atmospheric plasma process and intended to agronomy applications. For that purpose, colorimetry and acid titrations are performed, considering acid-base equilibria, pH and temperature variations induced during plasma activation. 16 species are quantified and monitored: hydroxide and hydronium ions, ammonia and ammonium ions, orthophosphates, carbonate ions, nitrite and nitrate ions and hydrogen peroxide. The related consumption/production mechanisms are discussed. In parallel, a chemical model of electrical conductivity based on Kohlrausch's law has been developed to simulate the electrical conductivity of the plasma-activated tap water (PATW). Comparing its predictions with experimental measurements leads to a narrow fitting, hence supporting the self-sufficiency of the experimental set, I.e. the fact that all long lifetime radicals of interest present in PATW are characterized.Finally, to evaluate the potential of cold atmospheric plasmas for agriculture applications, tap water has been daily plasma-treated to irrigate lentils seeds. Then, seedlings lengths have been measured and compared with untreated tap water, showing an increase as high as 34.0% and 128.4% after 3 days and 6 days of activation respectively. The interaction mechanisms between plasma and tap water are discussed as well as their positive synergy on agronomic results.
Water Research – Elsevier
Published: Apr 15, 2018
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