Phylogenetic classification and identification of bacteria by mass spectrometry

Nat Protoc. 2009;4(5):732-42. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2009.37.


Bacteria are a convenient source of intrinsic marker proteins, which can be detected efficiently by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The patterns of protein masses observed can be used for accurate classification and identification of bacteria. Key to the reliability of the method is a robust and standardized procedure for sample preparations, including bacterial culturing, chemical treatment for bacterial cell wall disruption and for protein extraction, and mass spectrometry analysis. The protocol is an excellent alternative to classical microbiological classification and identification procedures, requiring minimal sample preparation efforts and costs. Without cell culturing, the protocol takes in general <1 h.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Classification / methods
  • Enterobacteriaceae / classification*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / growth & development
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Phylogeny*


  • Bacterial Proteins