Saturday 7 November 2015

MALDI-TOF - under consultation

Public Health England have announced the matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation time of flight mass spectrometry test procedure is undergoing consultation.

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a soft ionisation technique used in mass spectrometry, allowing the analysis of biomolecules (such as DNA, proteins, peptide and sugars) and large organic molecules (such as polymers, dendrimers and other macromolecules), which tend to be fragile and fragment when ionised by more conventional ionisation methods. The ionisation is triggered by a laser beam. It is a rapid and highly reliable analytical tool for the characterisation of a diverse collection of microbes encountered in the clinical laboratory.

This technique can be used to analyse the protein composition of a microbial cell, and has emerged as a new technology for species identification. It has been shown to be a powerful technique because of its reproducibility, speed and sensitivity of analysis. The advantage of MALDI-TOF MS as compared with other identification methods is that the results of the analysis are available within minutes to a few hours rather than several days. With prior knowledge of microorganism type (through using conventional and supplementary tests); users find it easier to know whether a bacterium or yeast is being tested. Without this, identification attempts usually fail. The speed and the simplicity of sample preparation and result acquisition associated with minimal consumable costs make this method well suited for routine and high throughput use.

The consultation asks for feedback in relation to the Standards for Microbiology Investigations TP 40: Matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation time of flight mass spectrometry test procedure.

The consultation document can be found here: MALDI

Posted by Tim Sandle

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