Recent methodological advances in MALDI mass spectrometry

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2014 Apr;406(9-10):2261-78. doi: 10.1007/s00216-014-7646-6. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) is widely used for characterization of large, thermally labile biomolecules. Advantages of this analytical technique are high sensitivity, robustness, high-throughput capacity, and applicability to a wide range of compound classes. For some years, MALDI-MS has also been increasingly used for mass spectrometric imaging as well as in other areas of clinical research. Recently, several new concepts have been presented that have the potential to further advance the performance characteristics of MALDI. Among these innovations are novel matrices with low proton affinities for particularly efficient protonation of analyte molecules, use of wavelength-tunable lasers to achieve optimum excitation conditions, and use of liquid matrices for improved quantification. Instrumental modifications have also made possible MALDI-MS imaging with cellular resolution as well as an efficient generation of multiply charged MALDI ions by use of heated vacuum interfaces. This article reviews these recent innovations and gives the author's personal outlook of possible future developments.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / trends*


  • Peptides
  • Proteins