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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Microbial Identification Using MALDI-TOF MS. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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On-Plate Extraction Method (Formic Acid Overlay)

The on-plate extraction (or formic acid overlay) method is a supplementary method that can be used to enhance the quality of spectra obtained from microorganisms. For this method, the microorganism is spotted directly onto the plate as previously described. Then, of 1 µL of formic acid (70-100%) is applied to the spot and allowed to dry. The CHCA matrix is added and the MALDI-TOF MS is performed as per normal protocols. This method has been shown to improve the quality of spectra and result in better identification (Bessede et al. 2011). Some have shown that it improves the identification of gram-positive bacteria and it appears to be critical for the identification of yeast (McElvania et al. 2013, Alatoom et al. 2011).