An attempt at taxonomical characterization of some Rhizobial species by intact cell MALDI mass spectrometry

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In the present study an attempt was made to exploit the benefit of intact cell MALDI mass spectrometry (ICM-MS) in bringing out similarities and differences among some Rhizobium species and a species of Agrobacterium based on specific mass:charge (m/z) values. Rhizobium species isolated from the root nodules of selected leguminous plants were analysed by ICM-MS. The spectra were acquired in the range of 500–10,000 Da yielding several peaks specific to each species. The peaks obtained corresponded to the respective bacterial cell surface molecules which were desorbed during matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization. The number of peaks were more in the range of 500–1200 Da. Dice similarity coefficient analysis of m/z values indicated that Rhizobium species isolated from Trigonella foenum-graecum and Pisum arvense showed more similarity than any other species. Agrobacterium species did show a few common m/z values in comparison with other Rhizobium species. This clearly shows that Agrobacterium is closely related to Rhizobium. Eventually, ICM-MS technique offers clear, distinct, and consistent results for replicates, in less than an hour's time, therefore this technique has high potential in molecular taxonomy.

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