• Mass Spec 'quickly identifies Staphylococcus aureus'


Mass Spec 'quickly identifies Staphylococcus aureus'

Jan 13 2012

Unique isotopic labelling and specific bacteriophage amplification have been used by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology to rapidly identify Staphylococcus aureus.

Identifying the bacterium, which is responsible for staph infections, was seen as a critical task by the researchers, because the pathogenic bacterium causes a broad spectrum of infections. This can range from acute to chronic disease, which requires prompt treatment with antibiotics.

Mass spectrometry systems were able to quantify the number of S. Aureus organisms in a large number of samples in just a few hours, which is a significant improvement on culturing techniques that are usually used to detect this bacterium.

The system demonstrates the advantages of mass spec when testing a large number of people in a short space of time. This should, ultimately, lead to improved treatments. The simplicity of sample preparation and the low cost of required reagents were also cited as key benefits of mass spec.

Carrie Pierce, a research chemist at the CDC who also worked on the project as a graduate student at Georgia Tech commented: "This new method is a cost-effective way to rapidly and effectively detect staph infections, which must be treated quickly to prevent spread of the disease."

Posted by Fiona Griffiths

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