Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry: A new possibility for the identification and typing of anaerobic bacteria

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Citations (Scopus)


Anaerobic bacteria predominate in the normal flora of humans and are important, often life-threatening pathogens in mixed infections originating from the indigenous microbiota. The isolation and identification of anaerobes by phenotypic and DNA-based molecular methods at a species level is time-consuming and laborious. Following the successful adaptation of the matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the routine laboratory identification of bacteria, the extensive development of a database has been initiated to use this method for the identification of anaerobic bacteria. Not only frequently isolated anaerobic species, but also newly recognized and taxonomically rearranged genera and species can be identified using direct smear samples or whole-cell protein extraction, and even phylogenetically closely related species can be identified correctly by means of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Typing of anaerobic bacteria on a subspecies level, determination of antibiotic resistance and direct identification of blood culture isolates will revolutionize anaerobe bacteriology in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2014



  • Anaerobic bacteria identification
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Typing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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