The focus of this research was first to determine the influence of the atmospheric plasma drive frequency on the generation of atomic oxygen species and its correlation with the reduction of bacterial load after treatment in vitro. The treatments were carried out using a helium-plasma jet source called PlasmaStream™. The susceptibility of multiple microbial cell lines was investigated in order to compare the response of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, as well as a yeast cell line to the atmospheric plasma treatment. It was observed for the source evaluated that at a frequency of 160 kHz, increased levels of oxygen-laden active species (i.e., OH, NO) were generated. At this frequency, the maximum level of bacterial inactivation in vitro was also achieved. Ex vivo studies (using freshly excised porcine skin as a human analog) were also carried out to verify the antibacterial effect of the plasma jet treatment at this optimal operational frequency and to investigate the effect of treatment duration on the reduction of bacterial load. The plasma jet treatment was found to yield a 4 log reduction in bacterial load after 6 min of treatment, with no observable adverse effects on the treatment surface. The gram-negative bacterial cell lines were found to be far more susceptible to the atmospheric plasma treatments than the gram-positive bacteria. Flow cytometric analysis of plasma treated bacterial cells (Escherichia coli) was conducted in order to attain a fundamental understanding of the mode of action of the treatment on bacteria at a cellular level. This study showed that after treatment with the plasma jet, E. coli cells progressed through the following steps of cell death; the inactivation of transport systems, followed by depolarization of the cytoplasmic membrane, and finally permeabilization of the cell wall.