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Applications of whole-cell matrix-assisted laser-desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry in systematic microbiology

Review article
Authors M Welker
Edward R.B. Moore
Published in Systematic and Applied Microbiology
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 2-11
ISSN 0723-2020
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Pages 2-11
Language en
Keywords maldi-tof ms, mass spectrometry, microbial identification, microbial typing, prokaryote, bacteria
Subject categories Microbiology in the medical area, Cell and molecular biology, Microbiology, Spectroscopy


In the last few years matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been increasingly studied and applied for the identification and typing of microorganisms. Very recently, MALDI-TOF MS has been introduced in clinical routine microbiological diagnostics with marked success, which is remarkable considering that not long ago the technology was generally seen as being far from practical application. The identification of microbial isolates by whole-cell mass spectrometry (WC-MS) is being recognized as one of the latest tools forging a revolution in microbial diagnostics, with the potential of bringing to an end many of the time-consuming and man-power-intensive identification procedures that have been used for decades. Apart from applications of WC-MS in clinical diagnostics, other fields of microbiology also have adopted the technology with success. In this article, an over-view of the principles of MALDI-TOF MS and WC-MS is presented, highlighting the characteristics of the technology that allow its utilization for systematic microbiology.

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