Biotyping Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains using matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS)
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In clinical diagnosis and fermentation industries there is a need for a method that allows for the differentiation of yeast to the strain level (biotyping). The ideal biotyping method should be accurate, simple, rapid and cost-effective, and capable of testing a large number of yeast isolates. Matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful biotyping tool for the identification of bacteria and clinical yeast isolates, mainly Candida. It has been found that the MALDI-TOF MS signals from yeast are harder to obtain than from bacteria. It has been reported by several research studies that a cell lysis step is required to obtain a mass spectral signal for clinical Candida strains. To date an optimized sample preparation protocol has not been devised for the biotyping of S. cerevisiae strains. Studies on the identification of yeast using MALDI-TOF MS have focused primarily on clinical Candida yeast isolates but have included very few S. cerevisiae strains. Furthermore these yeast identification studies using MALDI-TOF MS have only achieved identification to the species and not strain level. A major limiting attribute of MALDI-TOF MS for the accurate identification of microbes, is its dependency on a comprehensive mass spectral database. Bruker Daltonics is a pioneer and leader in providing innovative life science tools based on mass spectrometry thus the Bruker Daltonics mass spectral database and state-of-the-art instruments and accompanying software were selected for this study. The Bruker Daltonics mass spectral database currently holds three thousand seven hundred and forty microorganisms of which only a mere seven are S. cerevisiae strains. Initially in this study, a number of parameters of a generic ethanol/formic acid protein extraction procedure as originally described by Bruker Daltoincs were considered in the development of a sample preparation protocol that yielded characteristic and highly reproducible MALDI-TOF mass spectra. The parameters considered included cell number, alcohol fixation, matrix solution and media. It was found that using the optimized sample preparation protocol unique and highly reproducible mass spectral profiles were obtained for all three S. cerevisiae strains. Multivariate analysis confirmed that the differences between all three S. cerevisiae strains were statistically significant. For quality assurance, the spectra of the three strains were sent for evaluation by Bruker Daltonics and were deemed suitable for the purpose of biotyping. The newly created ethanol/formic acid extraction procedure was used to generate an S. cerevisiae mass spectral database comprising of forty-five S. cerevisiae strains within a local context but also of global significance. The accuracy of the mass spectral database was assessed using blind coded S. cerevisiae strains obtained from the Agricultural Research Council Infruitec-Nietvoorbij (Institute for Deciduous Fruit, Vines and Wine), Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was found that S. cerevisiae identification to the species and more importantly strain level was achievable with relatively good accuracy. To determine the potential application of MALDI-TOF MS as an accurate method for S. cerevisiae strain identification in industry, blind coded S. cerevisiae strains were obtained from Natal Cane Products and subjected to MALDITOF MS analysis. It was found that four of the pure cultures submitted were correctly identified to the strain level and the three S. cerevisiae strains incorrectly identified may have been contaminants or the result of incorrect optimization conditions for the fermentation. Thus MALDITOF MS was shown to be an accurate identification tool, that may also be used to detect contaminants or incorrect environmental conditions which can result in substantial losses.