Aims: To evaluate the potential use of MALDI-TOF MS for fast and reliable classification and identification of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) from traditional fermented foods.
Methods and Results: A total of 119 strains of LAB from fermented meat (nem chua) were analysed with both (GTG)5-PCR fingerprinting and MALDI-TOF MS. Cluster analysis of the profiles revealed five species represented by a single isolate both in (GTG)5-PCR and in MALDI-TOF MS; five species grouped alike for (GTG)5-PCR and for MALDI-TOF MS; however, differences in minimal similarity between the delineated (GTG)5-PCR and MALDI-TOF MS clusters could be observed; three species showed more heterogeneity in their MALDI-TOF MS profiles compared to their (GTG)5-PCR profiles; two species, each represented by a single MALDI-TOF cluster, were subdivided in the corresponding (GTG)5-PCR dendrogram. As proof of the identification potential of MALDI-TOF MS, LAB diversity from one fermented mustard sample was analysed using MALDI- TOF MS. PheS gene sequencing was used for validation.
Conclusions: MALDI-TOF MS is a powerful, fast, reliable and cost-effective technique for the identification of LAB associated with the production of fermented foods.
Significance and Impact of the Study: Food LAB can be identified using MALDI-TOF MS, and its application could possibly be extended to other food matrices and/or other food-derived micro-organisms.