Bacterial Spores Survive Electrospray Charging and Desolvation

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13361-014-0827-x

Cite this article as:
Pratt, S.N. & Austin, D.E. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. (2014) 25: 712. doi:10.1007/s13361-014-0827-x


The survivability of Bacillus subtilis spores and vegetative Escherichia coli cells after electrospray from aqueous suspension was tested using mobility experiments at atmospheric pressure. E. coli did not survive electrospray charging and desolvation, but B. subtilis did. Experimental conditions ensured that any surviving bacteria were de-agglomerated, desolvated, and electrically charged. Based on mobility measurements, B. subtilis spores survived even with 2,000–20,000 positive charges. B. subtilis was also found to survive introduction into vacuum after either positive or negative electrospray. Attempts to measure the charge distribution of viable B. subtilis spores using electrostatic deflection in vacuum were inconclusive; however, viable spores with low charge states (less than 42 positive or less than 26 negative charges) were observed.

Graphical Abstract

Key words

Electrospray Bacillus subtilis Bacteria viability Charging Desolvation Extremophile 

Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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