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Anal Chem. 1999 May 15;71(10):1990-6.

Monitoring the growth of a bacteria culture by MALDI-MS of whole cells.

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Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405, USA.


We have probed the time evolution of a growing bacteria culture by extracting samples periodically and performing matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) on whole cells. The mass spectra generated by this method contain tens of peaks in the 3-11-kDa mass range. Cultures of E. coli strain K-12 were grown in two types of containers and at two nutrient concentrations and sampled periodically from 6 to 84 h after inoculation. The relative intensities of several of the stronger peaks vary quite dramatically as a function of time. These temporal characteristics must be taken into account when MALDI-MS is applied to identify bacteria. The results also suggest that MALDI-MS can be used to follow the aging of a bacteria culture.

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