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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2011 Feb;34(1):2-11. doi: 10.1016/j.syapm.2010.11.013. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

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

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Anagnostec GmbH, Am Mühlenberg 11, 14476 Potsdam, Germany.


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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