MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry as a Tool for the Rapid & Specific Identification of Pathogens Linked with Homeland Defense

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M. McDowall, M. Lunt
Waters ASMS 2004 poster
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Rapid identification of pathogens associated with homeland defense is currently required due to the potential release of biological agents. In particular B. anthracis, since this pathogen has already been the subject of recent investigations. However, the genus Bacillus is immensely complex and is presently undergoing major taxonomical revisions based upon 16S rDNA sequence analysis. For many isolates identification to the sub-genus level is difficult due to the high degree of homogeneity within this region of the gene. The UK Health Protection Agency now compliments 16S rDNA analysis with the analysis of other genes. This study examines the potential use of Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight (MALDITOF) mass spectrometry as an alternative more rapid identification technique for this genus.

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