Rapid Cyanobacteria Species Identification with High Sensitivity Using Native Mass Spectrometry

Jaspreet Sound, Anna Peters, Jeddidiah Bellamy-Carter, Cecilia Rad Menendez, Karen MacKechnie, David Green, Aneika Leney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Cyanobacteria have evolved over billions of years to adapt and survive in diverse climates. Environmentally, this presents a huge challenge because cyanobacteria can now rapidly form algae blooms that are detrimental to aquatic life. In addition, many cyanobacteria produce toxins, making them hazardous to animals and humans that they encounter. Rapid identification of cyanobacteria is essential to monitor and prevent toxic algae blooms. Here, we show for the first time how native mass spectrometry can quickly and precisely identify cyanobacteria from diverse aquatic environments. By monitoring phycobiliproteins, abundant protein complexes within cyanobacteria, simple, easy-to-understand mass spectral “fingerprints” were created that were unique to each species. Moreover, our method is 10-fold more sensitive than the current MALDI-TOF mass spectrometric methods, meaning that cyanobacteria can be monitored using this technology prior to bloom formation. Together, the data show great promise for the simultaneous detection and identification of co-existing cyanobacteria in situ.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14293-14299
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number42
Early online date17 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021


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