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Anal Chem. 2004 Nov 1;76(21):6274-81.

Effect of culture conditions on the achievable taxonomic resolution of Raman spectroscopy disclosed by three Bacillus species.

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  • 1Department of Analytical Chemistry, Ghent University, Proeftuinstraat 86, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. didier.hutsebaut@Ugent.be


Confocal micro-Raman spectroscopy requires a minimum of sample handling and no reagents and allows fast identification of microorganisms. Since it reflects the overall molecular composition of the cells, it provides much more information than classical, microbial analyses. However, since the molecular makeup of a cell depends on culture conditions, it can be argued that this will affect the reproducibility and discrimination ability of Raman spectroscopy. We used Bacillus cereus, Bacillus pumilus, and Bacillus licheniformis, which are known to be clearly distinct from each other and each displaying important phenotypic heterogeneity, in a wide variety of culture conditions to analyze this. It is illustrated that the influence of culture conditions on the identification accuracy and taxonomic resolution of Raman spectroscopy is important though the effect on the final identification is limited within the set of stains studied. Furthermore, some conditions even allow for better discrimination than others. From a practical point of view, it is especially important that differences in culturing time (and culturing temperature) can be accommodated.

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