Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 16, pp 7111–7120 | Cite as

Identification of microorganisms by FTIR spectroscopy: perspectives and limitations of the method

  • Mareike WenningEmail author
  • Siegfried Scherer


Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was introduced in 1991 as a technique to identify and classify microbes. Since then, it has gained growing interest and has undergone a remarkable evolution. Highly sophisticated spectrometers have been developed, enabling a high sample throughput. Today, the generation of high-quality data in a short time and the application of the technique for rapid and reliable identification of microbes to the species level are well documented. What makes FTIR spectroscopy even more attractive is the fact that spectral information can also be exploited for strain typing purposes, which is particularly important for epidemiological analyses and some technological applications. Accordingly, in recent years, FTIR spectroscopy has been increasingly used for typing and classifying microorganisms below the species level. The intention of this review is to give an overview over current knowledge and strategies of using FTIR spectroscopy for species identification and to describe different approaches for strain typing.


FTIR spectroscopy Species identification Strain typing Chemometrics 



The authors would like to thank Evi Lang Halter for providing spectra of Listeria monocytogenes.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abteilung Mikrobiologie, Zentralinstitut für Ernährungs- und Lebensmittelforschung (ZIEL)Technische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany
  2. 2.Lehrstuhl für Mikrobielle Ökologie, Department of BiosciencesTechnische Universität MünchenFreisingGermany

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