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J Mass Spectrom. 2011 Dec;46(12):1223-32. doi: 10.1002/jms.2008.

Pathogen identification using mass spectrometry in the clinical microbiology laboratory.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23507, USA. draker@musc.edu


The recent application of Matrix-assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight and Polymerase Chain Reaction Electrospray Ionization Quadrupole Time-of-Flight mass spectrometry approaches to microbial identification has initiated a revolution in the clinical microbiology lab. The commercial application of these technologies to pathogen identification has only begun in the last five years, and already new potentially life-saving applications of these technologies are rapidly identifying organisms that in the past have proven notoriously difficult to identify. In this review, we will provide a brief historical perspective on how these developments arose, describe why they are being successfully applied now and provide an overview of current approaches. Using examples involving clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, a perspective on future use and developments of mass spectrometry in the identification of microbial organisms is provided.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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