MALDI Biotyper and Clinical Microbiology

The MALDI Biotyper identifies microorganisms using MALDI-TOF (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight) mass spectrometry by measuring the highly abundant, primarily ribosomal proteins that form a unique molecular fingerprint of a microorganism.  Microorganism identification (to species level) is achieved through pattern matching of the experimental fingerprint against an extensive database.  Specifically, ARC-BIO utilizes a Bruker Microflex LRF instrument for data acquisition and the Bruker Biotyper software and library for data analysis and microorganism identification.  While this instrument has been moved to ARC-MMA, we still offer Biotyper services through use of the instrument in the ARC-MMA center.  The Biotyper library contains over 5000 fingerprints and custom libraries can also be created.  The advantages of the MALDI Biotyper system over traditional microbiology techniques include:  accuracy, speed, cost, robustness and ease of use.  Visit the Bruker website for more information about this technology and applications.

Available services at ARC-BIO include:

  • Analysis of pre-prepared microbial target plates.
  • Extraction and analysis of freshly cultured bacterial colonies (colonies must be fresh and never refrigerated)
  • Training for sample extraction and preparation.   Please contact us to request and schedule training.
  • The instrument has been moved to ARC-MMA to facilitate improved access.  Therefore walk-up usage is coordinate through the ARC-MMA iLab portal.

Biotyper sample submission guidelines

  • Samples on target plates that are ready to run on Biotyper can be submitted between 9 am -5 pm Monday through Friday.
  • The target plate can be submitted directly to our core facility or could be shipped overnight on ice packs. To protect the sample spots please ship the target plates in its original box.
  • If the samples need to be extracted by ARC-BIO staff, please contact us so we can schedule the time of submission to accommodate sample preparation of fresh cultures.
  • A completed Sample ID Template must be included with sample submission.

Protocol for microorganism identification

All reagents for sample preparation and extraction should be fresh and HPLC grade:  HCCA matrix preparation

There are two options for sample preparation and the choice will depend on your sample.

  1. Direct transfer method: this method works best for non-spore-forming microorganisms (i.e. bacteria).
  2. Tube extraction method(formic acid extraction) method: this method more time intensive but often results in more consistent extraction.


If you would like to order your own plates and consumables (matrix and BTS) for preparation of your samples off-site, part numbers can be found here.

Protocol for cleaning the MALDI target