Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27625644
Link to DOI – 135910.3389/fmicb.2016.01359
Front Microbiol 2016 ; 7(): 1359
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) based biotyping is an emerging technique for high-throughput and rapid microbial identification. Due to its relatively higher accuracy, comprehensive database of clinically important microorganisms and low-cost compared to other microbial identification methods, MALDI-TOF MS has started replacing existing practices prevalent in clinical diagnosis. However, applicability of MALDI-TOF MS in the area of microbial ecology research is still limited mainly due to the lack of data on non-clinical microorganisms. Intense research activities on cultivation of microbial diversity by conventional as well as by innovative and high-throughput methods has substantially increased the number of microbial species known today. This important area of research is in urgent need of rapid and reliable method(s) for characterization and de-replication of microorganisms from various ecosystems. MALDI-TOF MS based characterization, in our opinion, appears to be the most suitable technique for such studies. Reliability of MALDI-TOF MS based identification method depends mainly on accuracy and width of reference databases, which need continuous expansion and improvement. In this review, we propose a common strategy to generate MALDI-TOF MS spectral database and advocated its sharing, and also discuss the role of MALDI-TOF MS based high-throughput microbial identification in microbial ecology studies.