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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol: 72, No: 2, 2006; Pages: 1180–1189

Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry for the Discrimination of Food-Borne Microorganisms

Maria Fiorella Mazzeo,1 Alida Sorrentino,1 Marcello Gaita,1 Giuseppina Cacace,1 Michele Di Stasio,1 Angelo Facchiano,1 Giuseppe Comi,2 Antonio Malorni,1 and Rosa Anna Siciliano1*

Proteomic and Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Center, Institute of Food Science and Technology, CNR, via Roma 52 a/c, 83100 Avellino, Italy.


A methodology based on matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry of intact bacterial cells was used for rapid discrimination of 24 bacterial species, and detailed analyses to identify Escherichia coli O157:H7 were carried out. Highly specific mass spectrometric profiles of pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria that are well-known major food contaminants were obtained, uploaded in a specific database, and made available on the Web. In order to standardize the analytical protocol, several experimental, sample preparation, and mass spectrometry parameters that can affect the reproducibility and accuracy of data were evaluated. Our results confirm the conclusion that this strategy is a powerful tool for rapid and accurate identification of bacterial species and that mass spectrometric methodologies could play an essential role in polyphasic approaches to the identification of pathogenic bacteria.

Keywords:laser desorption ionization;Escherichia coli;pathogenic;nonpathogenic bacteria;Food-Borne Microorganisms;Microorganisms;RNA-DNA hybridization;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel 39-0825- 299363; Fax 39-0825-781585.

E-mail: rsiciliano@isa.cnr.it


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