Current Microbiology

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 267–269 | Cite as

Diagnosis of Bacteria In Vitro by Mass Spectrometric Fingerprinting:A Pilot Study

  • Matthias Lechner
  • Manfred Fille
  • Johann Hausdorfer
  • Manfred P.  Dierich
  • Josef Rieder


The identification of bacteria by using conventional microbiological techniques can be very time-consuming and circumstantial. In contrast, the headspace screening of bacterial cultures by analyzing their emitted volatile compounds using mass spectrometry might provide a novel approach in diagnostic microbiology. In the present study different strains of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Helicobacter pylori were investigated. The volatile compounds emitted by these bacteria in vitro were analyzed using proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry, which allows rapid and sensitive measurement. The detected patterns of volatile compounds produced by the investigated bacteria were compared and substantial differences regarding both quantity and quality were observed. In conclusion, the present study is the first to describe headspace screening of bacterial cultures as a potential diagnostic approach in medical microbiology.


Volatile Organic Compound Volatile Compound Klebsiella Drift Tube Atomic Mass Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Literature Cited

  1. 1.
    Bonnarme P, Amarita F, Chambellon E, Semon E, Spinnler HE, Yvon M, (2004) Methylthioacetaldehyde, a possible intermediate metabolite for the production of volatile sulphur compounds from L-methionine by Lactococcus lactisFEMS Microbiol Lett 236:85–90CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burchardi H, Schneider H, (2004) Economic aspects of severe sepsis: A review of intensive care unit costs, cost of illness and cost effectiveness of therapy Pharmacoeconomics 22:793–813PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Buzzini P, Martini A, Cappelli F, Pagnoni UM, Davoli P, (2003) A study on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by tropical ascomycetous yeastsAntonie van Leeuwenhoek 84:301–311CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carterson AJ, Morici LA, Jackson DW, Frisk A, Lizewski SE, Jupiter R, et al. (2004) The transcriptional regulator AlgR controls cyanide production in Pseudomonas aeruginosaJ Bacteriol 186:6837–6844CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Korpi A, Pasanen AL, Pasanen P, (1998) Volatile compounds originating from mixed microbial cultures on building materials under various humidity conditionsAppl Environ Microbiol 64:2914–2919PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kuzma J, Nemecek-Marshall M, Pollock WH, Fall R, (1995) Bacteria produce the volatile hydrocarbon isopreneCurr Microbiol 30:97–103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lindinger W, Hansel A, Jordan A, (1998) On-line monitoring of volatile organic compounds at pptv levels by means of proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS): Medical applications, food control and environmental researchInt J Mass Spectrom Ion Processes 173:191–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Probert CS, Jones PR Ratcliffe NM, (2004) A novel method for rapidly diagnosing the causes of diarrhoeaGut 53:58–61CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Lechner
    • 1
  • Manfred Fille
    • 1
  • Johann Hausdorfer
    • 1
  • Manfred P.  Dierich
    • 1
  • Josef Rieder
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine, Section Hygiene and Medical MicrobiologyMedical University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care MedicineUniversity Hospital of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

Personalised recommendations