In recent years, mass spectrometry in combination with multivariate data analysis has become an alternative method for bacterial identification and was successfully applied for the characterisation of microorganisms. In our group we use MALDI-ToF/MS followed by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) not only to identify bacterial strains but also to characterise biofilms as well as to characterise bacterial life forms such as the so called viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state of bacteria.
The figure above shows a PCA of MALDI-ToF/MS mass spectra of different development states of E. faecalis.
Kuehl, B. / Marten, S. / Bischoff, Y. / Brenner-Weiß, G. / Obst, U. (2011): „MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry–multivariate data analysis as a tool for classification of reactivation and non-culturable states of bacteria“. In: Analytical Bioanalytical Chemistry 401 (2011), 5, 1597-1604