Metabolite profiling of Clostridium difficile ribotypes using small molecular weight volatile organic compounds
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- Kuppusami, S., Clokie, M.R.J., Panayi, T. et al. Metabolomics (2015) 11: 251. doi:10.1007/s11306-014-0692-4
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by cultures of ten different Clostridium difficile ribotypes have been profiled using proton transfer reaction-time of flight-mass spectrometry. A total of 69 VOCs were identified and combinations of these VOCs were found to be characteristic for each of the ribotypes. The VOC patterns, with the aid of a statistical analysis, have been shown to be useful in distinguishing different ribotypes. A tentative assignment of different masses also shows that different ribotypes have markedly different emissions of methanol, p-cresol, dimethylamine and a range sulfur compounds (ethylene sulfide, dimethylsulfide and methyl thioacetate), which point to VOCs as potential indicators of different metabolic pathways in virulent and less-virulent strains. The results establish the potential of detecting emitted VOC metabolites to differentiate between closely related C. difficile ribotypes and in the longer term provide metabolic insight into virulence.