Species-specific bacteria identification using differential mobility spectrometry and bioinformatics pattern recognition

Anal Chem. 2005 Sep 15;77(18):5930-7. doi: 10.1021/ac050348i.


As bacteria grow and proliferate, they release a variety of volatile compounds that can be profiled and used for speciation, providing an approach amenable to disease diagnosis through quick analysis of clinical cultures as well as patient breath analysis. As a practical alternative to mass spectrometry detection and whole cell pyrolysis approaches, we have developed methodology that involves detection via a sensitive, micromachined differential mobility spectrometer (microDMx), for sampling headspace gases produced by bacteria growing in liquid culture. We have applied pattern discovery/recognition algorithms (ProteomeQuest) to analyze headspace gas spectra generated by microDMx to reliably discern multiple species of bacteria in vitro: Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus thuringiensis, and Mycobacterium smegmatis. The overall accuracy for identifying volatile profiles of a species within the 95% confidence interval for the two highest accuracy models evolved was between 70.4 and 89.3% based upon the coordinated expression of between 5 and 11 features. These encouraging in vitro results suggest that the microDMx technology, coupled with bioinformatics data analysis, has potential for diagnosis of bacterial infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus / isolation & purification*
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity