Laboratory Services >> Pharmaceutical Microbiology >> Microbial Identification via MS / MALDI-ToF

Microbial Identification via MS / MALDI-ToF

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VITEK® MS is an automated microbial identification system that uses an innovative mass spectrometry technology — Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight, or MALDI-TOF — to provide identification results in minutes.  


Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique for determining the elemental composition of a sample. The MS principle consists of ionizing chemical compounds to generate charged molecules and to measure their mass-to-charge ratio. Such molecular “signatures” can be used for rapid bacterial identification (ID) from isolated colonies. The use of mass spectrometry for bacterial ID is especially suitable and cost-efficient for laboratories with high volumes of samples.

MALDI-TOF technology (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight) used by VITEK® MS examines the patterns of proteins detected directly from intact bacteria. The sample to be analyzed is mixed with another compound, called a matrix. The mixture is applied to a metal plate and irradiated with a laser. The matrix absorbs the laser light and vaporizes, along with the sample, in the process gaining an electrical charge (ionization). Electric fields then guide the ions into the time of flight mass spectrometer, which separates them according to their mass to charge (m/z) ratio, and ultimately the quantity of each ion is measured. Detection is achieved at the end of the flight tube. 


A submission form must be completed detailing the sample(s) to be examined. Any additional information that you have regarding identification, will help us to minimize turnaround time e.g. growth conditions, anaerobic/aerobic etc