Rapid identification and source-tracking of Listeria monocytogenes using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry

Snehal Jadhav, Vandana Gulati, Edward Fox, Avinash Karpe, David Beale, Danielle Sevior, Mrinal Bhave, Enzo Palombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Listeria monocytogenes is an important foodborne pathogen responsible for the sometimes fatal disease listeriosis. Public health concerns and stringent regulations associated with the presence of this pathogen in food and food processing environments underline the need for rapid and reliable detection and subtyping techniques. In the current study, the application of matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) as a single identification and source-tracking tool for a collection of L. monocytogenes isolates, obtained predominantly from dairy sources within Australia, was explored. The isolates were cultured on different growth media and analysed using MALDI-TOF MS at two incubation times (24 and 48 h). Whilst reliable genus-level identification was achieved from most media, identification at the species level was found to be dependent on culture conditions. Successful speciation was highest for isolates cultured on the chromogenic Agar Listeria Ottaviani Agosti agar (ALOA, 91% of isolates) and non-selective horse blood agar (HBA, 89%) for 24 h. Chemometric statistical analysis of the MALDI-TOF MS data enabled source-tracking of L. monocytogenes isolates obtained from four different dairy sources. Strain-level discrimination was also observed to be influenced by culture conditions. In addition, t-test/analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to identify potential biomarker peaks that differentiated the isolates according to their source of isolation. Source-tracking using MALDI-TOF MS was compared and correlated with the gold standard pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) technique. The discriminatory index and the congruence between both techniques were compared using the Simpsons Diversity Index and adjusted Rand and Wallace coefficients. Overall, MALDI-TOF MS based source-tracking (using data obtained by culturing the isolates on HBA) and PFGE demonstrated good congruence with a Wallace coefficient of 0.71 and comparable discriminatory indices of 0.89 and 0.86, respectively. MALDI-TOF MS thus represents a rapid and cost-effective source-tracking technique for L. monocytogenes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalFood Microbiology
Early online date24 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid identification and source-tracking of Listeria monocytogenes using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this