This work proposes for the first time the use of hollow-fiber flow field-flow fractionation (HF FlFFF) for improved matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI/TOFMS) of whole bacteria. HF FlFFF has proved to be able to prepurify or fractionate different species of whole bacteria. Sample preparation by HF FlFFF gives improved spectra quality because noncellular components possibly present in the sample can be separated from the cells. When a mixture of two bacteria (Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli) is fractionated through HF FlFFF, MALDI/TOFMS analysis of each separated bacterial species preserves the most characteristic ion signals of the species without the presence of characteristic signals of the other species. The main advantages of HF FlFFF for MALDI/TOFMS analysis of whole bacteria are miniaturization, simplicity, and low cost of the fractionator components. This low cost makes disposable usage of the fractionator possible, thus eliminating the risk of run-to-run contamination of spectra due to sample carryover. The low fractionator volume yields bacterial fractionation on the order of a few minutes, which is comparable to MALDI/TOFMS analysis time. The small fractionation volume makes sample dilution low enough so that additional sample concentration steps are not strictly required to preserve MALDI/TOFMS detection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry