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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 1998;12(8):456-64.

Investigation of spectral reproducibility in direct analysis of bacteria proteins by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) can be used for rapid detection of bacteria proteins in a crude mixture. It can potentially be used as a tool for bacterial identification based on the mass spectral patterns or the appearance of some characteristic mass peaks. However, there are many experimental parameters that can potentially have a strong effect on the observed mass spectra. The objective of this work is to address the mass spectral reproducibility issue. Several experimental parameters that may affect the MALDI spectra are systematically investigated. Results of spectral comparison from two laboratories with different operators and instrumentation are presented. It is demonstrated that minor variations in the sample/matrix preparation procedures for MALDI and in the experimental conditions used for bacterial protein extraction can result in a significant change in the observed spectra, though a number of peaks are conserved in the spectra obtained under different experimental conditions from the same bacterial sample. These conserved peaks may potentially be used as the biomarkers for bacterial identification. It is stressed that this type of investigation on spectral reproducibility should be carried out for different bacterial species in order to identify the mass spectral peaks that are consistently detected regardless of operator and nominal variations in sample preparation approach.

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