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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 Nov;75(21):6745-56. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01171-09. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

Rapid identification of Vibrio parahaemolyticus by whole-cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry.

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School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.


Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a pathogenic marine bacterium that is the main causative agent of bacterial seafood-borne gastroenteritis in the United States. An increase in the frequency of V. parahaemolyticus-related infections during the last decade has been attributed to the emergence of an O3:K6 pandemic clone in 1995. The diversity of the O3:K6 pandemic clone and its serovariants has been examined using multiple molecular techniques including multilocus sequence analysis, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and group-specific PCR analysis. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has become a powerful tool for rapidly distinguishing between related bacterial species. In the current study, we demonstrate the development of a whole-cell MALDI-TOF MS method for the distinction of V. parahaemolyticus from other Vibrio spp. We identified 30 peaks that were present only in the spectra of the V. parahaemolyticus strains examined in this study that may be developed as MALDI-TOF MS biomarkers for identification of V. parahaemolyticus. We detected variation in the MALDI-TOF spectra of V. parahaemolyticus strains isolated from different geographical locations and at different times. The MALDI-TOF MS spectra of the V. parahaemolyticus strains examined were distinct from those of the other Vibrio species examined including the closely related V. alginolyticus, V. harveyi, and V. campbellii. The results of this study demonstrate the first use of whole-cell MALDI-TOF MS analysis for the rapid identification of V. parahaemolyticus.

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