Analysis of ancient mycolic acids by using MALDI TOF MS: Response to " Essentials in the use of mycolic acid biomarkers for tuberculosis detection" by Minnikin et al., 2010

Laszlo Mark, Gergely Gulyas-Fekete, Antonia Marcsik, Erika Molnar, Gyorgy Palfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The mycobacterial cell wall is consists of several long chain lipid and glycolipid components. Mycolic acids are major and unique fraction of the cell envelope of mycobacteria that include the ancient causative agents of tuberculosis and leprosy. The analytical investigation of these lipid biomarker residues is one of the most promising perspectives in the field of molecular paleopathology. Recently published in this journal, Minnikin et al. present a systematic critique of the MALDI TOF MS analysis for determination of ancient mycolic acids, focusing on our previous paper. In this study, our mass spectrometric investigations by commonly used 2,5 DHB matrix were presented with our comments to the critique authors. On the base of our previous and recent mass spectrometric results we have to realize that the clinical protocols and standards cannot directly be used for the biomolecular paleopathological investigations. The applicability of the recent mycobacterial and clinical results is very limited in the biomolecular archaeology, thus the recent scientific results and protocols should be adapted carefully to bioarchaeological sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011



  • Biomarker discovery
  • Biomolecular archaeology
  • MALDI TOF mass spectrometry
  • Mycolic acid
  • Paleopathology
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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