MALDI-TOF MS in food production

– fast and reliable identification of microorganisms

Matrix-assistierte Laser Desorption-Ionisation in combination with time-of-flight mass spectrometry or briefly MALDI-TOF MS has been used since many years in academic, clinical and industrial markets. Thanks to a simple, straightforward sample preparation protocol as well as easy to handle hardware and software, MALDI-TOF MS has become indispensable in modern quality control labs.
A MALDI-TOF MS experiment usually starts with the preparation of freshly growing colonies onto a MALDI steel target, followed by an automated acquisition of “proteotypic” fingerprints and subsequent bioinformatics pattern profiling. A successful identification of each microorganism is based on the presence of a well-defined reference entry in the matching database. Currently this database contains more than 7000 entries, helping to identify over 2500 different species.

We offer following MALDI-TOF MS equipment:

Bruker Benchtop MALDI System, microflex-Serie (microflex LT/SH or LT/SH smart):

Bruker’s microflex series comprises a modern, compact, space saving, true benchtop MALDI system, fitting on almost every laboratory bench. The microflex smart system is equipped with Bruker’s patented smartbeamTM solid-state lifetime laser technology, guaranteeing at least one order of magnitude higher laser lifetime. In addition, the smart beam enables higher laser repetition rates and is – compared to conventional nitrogen lasers – minimum 3 times faster. Both microflex systems are manufactured with a push-button self-cleaning ion source, actable under vacuum conditions.

As mentioned above, a successful identification event is based on the presence of a well-defined database with reference spectra entries.


  • Fast and reliable identification in minutes (96 samples in less than 60 minutes)
  • Compact true benchtop MALDI
  • Silent with low energy consumption
  • Simple to use
  • Easy sample preparation protocols
  • Comprehensive database libraries
  • Easy to compile and customized database

Artikelnr.: D24001

Bruker benchtop
Sample docking area
docking area detail
Biotarget 96 format
Bruker benchtop

MALDI-TOF MS matching database with reference spectra entries

Practically, a successful identification process is a combination of precisely generated MALDI raw data files, application of clearly determined mathematical algorithms and well-defined bioinformatics pattern profiling parameters. The database to match against is the core of the complete workflow and in order to establish and maintain reference entries strict, stringent quality-controlled procedures have been established in compliance with best practice quality control guidelines.

Components in detail:

  • Bruker MALDI Biotyper bioinformatics software for processing / identification of MALDI raw spectra files (compatible with all MALDI flex instruments).
  • Bruker reference libraries (e.g. gram positive and negative bacteria, yeasts and molds)
  • New: BIOTECON Diagnostics Dairy reference library – D-MASS: 302 new, additional MALDI references for the identification of dairy relevant contaminations.
  • Bruker explorer modul for customized library extension an in depth data analysis of MALDI raw data (additional bioinformatics tools)
Bruker’s benchtop
Final report after
successful classification
DMASS Database

MALDI-TOF MS consumables

To complete your MALDI-TOF MS workflow concept based on a microflex MALDI system a few consumables are required, such as a bacterial test standard ( = BTS), a HCCA matrix (HCCA = a-cyano-4-hydoxycinnamic acid) and a small amount of an organic solvent. *BTS and HCCA are sent as dry components in small ready-to-use vials and are reconstituted with organic solvent upon need.
BTS consists of a carefully manufactured E. coli extract spiked with two additional proteins to cover the complete mass range for calibration purposes and – in addition – to check system performance (e.g. identify “calibrant” as E. coli). Each delivered package contains 5 vials and each vial contains material for the preparation of around 40 MALDI calibration (performance check) spots. An HCCA package includes 10 vials and each vial contains 2.5 mg of HCCA. Usually, one package of BTS and HCCA is sufficient for approximately 2000 identifications.
MALDI targets are available as barcoded reusable steel targets or as barcoded disposable targets (Biotarget), upon request also 48 spot or 24 spot format steel targets (with or without barcode).
* Standard solvent sigma 19182 (acetonitrile 50 %, water 47.5 %, triflouracetic acid 2.5 %)


  • Bruker Test Standard (BTS – bacterial test standard)
  • Bruker HCCA matrix (ready-for-use HCCA)
  • Re-usable, barcoded MALDI steel targets (MSP 96 target polished steel BC)
  • Re-usable, barcoded MALDI AnchorChip steel targets (different spot diameters)
  • Disposable, barcoded 96er target (Biotarget; target adapter required!)
  • MSP Biotarget adapter (re-usable)
BTS for calibration
and performance check
ready-to-use HCCA,
2.5 mg each
re-usable, barcoded
steel target 96
Biotarget 96

MALDI-TOF-MS Automation:

To ensure reproducible and traceable, high quality sample preparations several automation tools are available. E.g. the MALDI Biotyper Pilot system facilitates accurate sample positioning, via a small visible beam light, indicating the next to prepare spot position on a MALDI target plate. Traceability is given at any time by using a software supported barcode reader. After sample transfer completion the next step – either adding the matrix solution directly or after deposition of one microliter of formic acid – can be automated with a liquid handling robot. We recommend two possible solutions the MALDI Biotyper Galaxy or the foodproof® RoboSet+ multifunction liquid handling robot.

Options Automation

  • MALDI Biotyper Pilot system (sample deposition guidance
  • MALDI BioTyper Galaxy System (liquid handling robotic system)
  • foodproof® RoboSet+ (liquid handling robotic system)
MBT Pilot System
MBT Galaxy Liquid
Handling System
foodproof® RoboSet+
Liquid Handling Roboter