To verify the applicability of identifying Microcystis aeruginosa by matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), mixed and field samples were employed to study the sensitivity and the analysis power, respectively. Series diluted samples and artificially mixed samples by the M. aeruginosa NIES-843 strain were designed to verify the sensitivity. The lowest detection limit was 1.955 × 106 cells in pure samples, while for mixed samples, the lowest detection limit and ratio of NIES-843 strain were 2.88 × 106 cells and 33.7%, respectively. The results provided a reference for the reasonable volume of the water sample in which the M. aeruginosa could be detected. Ribosomal protein biomarkers for identifying M. aeruginosa which were successfully detected from the field samples in Taihu Lake, indicated that the identification of M. aeruginosa by MALDI-TOF MS could be applied in field samples. Furthermore, different genetic types of M. aeruginosa strains were also detected at different locations in Taihu Lake, which revealed the diversity of M. aeruginosa and the detection power of MALDI-TOF MS at the strain level for the field samples. The sensitivity and detection power in the analysis of M. aeruginosa by the MALDI-TOF MS demonstrated the applicability of this method in routine environmental monitoring.
Keywords: Cyanobacterial bloom; MALDI-TOF MS; Microcystis aeruginosa; Ribosomal protein.