High-throughput mass spectrometric analysis of 1400-year-old mycolic acids as biomarkers for ancient tuberculosis infection

Laszlo Mark, Zoltan Patonai, Alexandra Vaczy, Tamas Lorand, Antonia Marcsik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


The cell wall of mycobacteria includes an unusual outer membrane of extremely low permeability. This cell envelope consists of a characteristic cell wall skeleton, a mycoloyl arabinogalactan peptidoglycan complex, and related hydrophobic components that contribute to the cell surface properties. In this study 1400-year-old mycolic acids as unique tuberculosis biomarkers have been extracted and identified for the first time by using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI TOF MS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The data suggest that the MALDI TOF MS has potential as a rapid and reproducible technique for the detection and identification of ancient mycobacterial infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-305
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010



  • Bone
  • MTC
  • Mycobacterium tubeculosis
  • Mycolic acid
  • Paleopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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