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Vol. 132, 2015; Pages: 630 – 634

Phylogenetic analysis of microalgae based on highly abundant proteins using mass spectrometry

Hae-Won Lee, Seong Woon Roh, Kichul Cho, Kil-Nam Kim, In-Tae Cha, Kyung June Yim, Hye Seon Song, Young-Do Nam, Tatsuya Oda, Young-Ho Chung, Soo Jung Kim, Jong-Soon Choi, Daekyung Kim

Jeju Center, Korea Basic Science Institute, Jeju 690-756, Republic of Korea.


The blooms of toxic phototrophic microorganisms, such as microalgae and cyanobacteria, which are typically found in freshwater and marine environments, are becoming more frequent and problematic in aquatic systems. Due to accumulation of toxic algae, harmful algal blooms (HABs) exert negative effects on aquatic systems. Therefore, rapid detection of harmful microalgae is important for monitoring the occurrence of HABs. Mass spectrometry-based methods have become sensitive, specific techniques for the identification and characterization of microorganisms. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) with time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) allows us to measure a unique molecular fingerprint of highly abundant proteins in a microorganism and has been used for the rapid, accurate identification of bacteria and fungi in clinical microbiology. Here, we tested the specificity of MALDI-TOF MS using microalgal strains (HeterocapsaAlexandriumNannochloropsisChaetocerosChlorella, andDunaliella spp.). Our research suggested that this method was comparable in terms of the rapid identification of microalgea to conventional methods based on genetic information and morphology. Thus, this efficient mass spectrometry-based technique may have applications in the rapid identification of harmful microorganisms from aquatic environmental samples.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Microalgae; Rapid identification; Phylogenetic analysis; MALDI-TOF

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