Plasma balls kill cholera, E. coli and Mad Cow.

Yeah, those funky electronic gizmos that sit on your desk and look oh sparkly! and not much else? Science Daily reports that they can turn water into an antibiotic:

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have shown that ionized plasmas like those in neon lights and plasma TVs not only can sterilize water, but make it antimicrobial — able to kill bacteria — for as long as a week after treatment.

Graves and his UC Berkeley colleagues published a paper in the November issue of the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, reporting that water treated with plasma killed essentially all the E. coli bacteria dumped in within a few hours of treatment and still killed 99.9 percent of bacteria added after it sat for seven days. Mutant strains of E. coli have caused outbreaks of intestinal upset and even death when they have contaminated meat, cheese and vegetables.

Based on other experiments, Graves and colleagues at the University of Maryland in College Park reported Oct. 31 at the annual meeting of the American Vacuum Society that plasma can also “kill” dangerous proteins and lipids — including prions, the infectious agents that cause mad cow disease — that standard sterilization processes leave behind.