Pioneering diagnostics

MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

An emerging diagnostic technology, mass spectrometry offers even faster microorganism identification.

Pathogen identification is crucial to confirm bacterial infections and to guide antimicrobial therapy and clinical laboratories need ever more rapid and reliable methods.

Identification of a microorganism to the species level typically requires several time-consuming steps and definitive results can sometimes take up to 24 hours or more.

MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

  • Mass spectrometry is a technique used to identify a molecule and determine its chemical structure by analyzing the mass and the charge of its ions. bioMérieux uses MALDI-TOF* mass spectrometry to determine the elemental composition of a sample.
  • It can provide an identification of a microorganism’s genus and species in just a few minutes.
  • This technique allows significant time savings with respect to traditional identification methods. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry cannot be used for antibiotic susceptibility testing and an additional method must be used. The technology is particularly well-suited to large laboratories.

Mass Spectrometry: Fast, Flexible, Innovative      

Our product offering

  • VITEK® MS is bioMérieux's mass spectrometry-based system for the rapid identification of bacteria, fungi, and mycobacteria.
    • Thanks to the Myla® application, it is fully integrated with bioMérieux's VITEK® 2 platform, the world's leading system for automated identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing.
    • Myla connects the two instruments, automatically combining identification results provided by VITEK MS with the antibiotic susceptibility test results provided by
      VITEK 2.

bioMérieux Announces U.S. FDA Clearance for VITEK® MS, a Revolutionary Technology which Reduces Microbial Identification from Days to Minutes Reinforcing Medical Value of Diagnostics. Press Release

MALDI-TOF* Mass Spectrometry

In the MALDI-TOF process, the sample to be analyzed is mixed with another compound, called a matrix. The mixture is applied to a target slide, placed inside the instrument, and irradiated with a laser. The matrix absorbs the laser light and vaporizes, along with the sample, in the process gaining an electrical charge (ionization).

Electric fields then guide the ions into the flight tube, which separates them according to ‘weight’ (mass) and displays the results as a series of lines (spectrum) which correspond to different fragments that have broken away from the original molecule. By analyzing the pattern of fragments it is possible to deduce the structure of the molecule.

VITEK MS takes this further by comparing the sample spectrum to an extensive database of spectra from bacterial species to allow the system to accurately identify the microorganism in question.

*Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-Of-Flight