MALDI-TOF (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization/Time of Flight) uses the proteomic fingerprint of the microorganism for its identification compared to fingerprinting using Sequencing. For microbiological applications mainly TOF mass analyzers are used. During MALDI-TOF analysis, the m/z ratio (mass-to-charge ratio) of an ion is measured by determining the time required for it to travel the length of the flight tube. Based on the TOF information, a characteristic spectrum called peptide mass fingerprint (PMF) is generated for analytes in the sample.
The MALDI-TOF gives faster with higher sensitivity results compared to biochemical manual methods. The MALDI-TOF can be used to speciate isolates from samples sent to Aerobiology or pure cultures of Legionella can be submitted to the Virginia location for speciation.