Characterization of fungal spores by laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2000; 14(5):307-10.RC
A considerable volume of research has now been completed on the application of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) to the analysis of bacteria; however, to date no definitive studies have been made using this technique on fungi. Preliminary studies on the application of the MALDI-MS methodology, previously developed for the analysis of bacteria, to the analysis of intact fungal spores are described here. MALDI-MS and electrospray mass spectrometry enable the high molecular weight analysis of proteins, glycoproteins, oligosaccharides and oligonucleotides. Using MALDI-MS with bacteria has demonstrated the ability to produce 'fingerprints' of the intact cells with the ions observed being associated with the proteinaceous components of the cell wall. This paper reports the adaptation of this technique to the direct analysis of fungal cells. The high percentage of carbohydrate in the fungal cell wall indicates that the ions observed in the mass spectrometric experiments may be of carbohydrate origin. Penicillium spp., Scytalidium dimidiatum and Trichophyton rubrum have been studied in this preliminary investigation and all show individually distinctive spectra which would appear to provide a profile of the cellular material with discrete peaks being observed over the mass range 2 to 13 kDa. The spectra obtained are reproducible within the method used but, as shown in our previous studies on bacteria, washing may selectively release components from the fungal cell wall.