MALDI-TOFMS compared with other polyphasic taxonomy approaches for the identification and classification of Bacillus pumilus spores.J Microbiol Methods. 2004 Jul; 58(1):1-12.JM
To verify the efficacy of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOFMS) protein profiling for identifying and differentiating bacterial species, several strains of Bacillus pumilus were examined in a thorough taxonomic study incorporating a polyphasic approach. Sixteen isolates of putative B. pumilus isolated from spacecraft assembly facilities, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, and the International Space Station, were characterized for their biochemical and molecular profiles using the Biolog system, DNA techniques, and MALDI-TOFMS protein profiling. MALDI-TOFMS protein profiling was more accurate than Biolog metabolic profiling, more discriminating than 16S rDNA sequence analysis, and complemented the results of gyrB sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization for the identification of the B. pumilus spores. This is the first report whereby MALDI-TOFMS generated protein profiles from a set of microbes is compared directly with DNA-DNA hybridization yielding a positive correlation. Unique, cluster-specific biomarker peaks have been identified in the spores of the B. pumilus examined in this study. MALDI-TOFMS protein profiling is a rapid and simple analysis and has been demonstrated as a useful taxonomic tool for differentiating spores of the genus Bacillus. For practical purposes, it would be ideal (and necessary) to have a publicly available, standardized MALDI profile database, to facilitate the use of the technique as a diagnostic method to differentiate bacterial species.