JMS Special Feature: Mass spectrometry for the detection of bioterrorism agents: from environmental to clinical applications

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  • Published: Nov 16, 2016
  • Channels: HPLC / Base Peak
thumbnail image: JMS Special Feature: Mass spectrometry for the detection of bioterrorism agents: from environmental to clinical applications

The threat posed by bioterrorism is a serious concern as the consequences of a large-scale biological attack would be devastating, causing significant social and economic disruption, while being potentially achievable at a relatively moderate cost and without the need for specific high-level technology. The biological agents potentially concerned include both microorganisms and protein toxins. In this Special Feature article, Eric Ezan and co-workers provide an up to date review and report on some of the technological developments that have recently enabled the detection of these bioagents to move forward. They also address today's challenges in translating MS-based approaches from the original environmental detection to clinical diagnosis. Dr. Ezan is a biochemist at the Centre d'Etude Atomique de Saclay (Gif sur Yvette, France). Amongst his research interests is the study of metabolic processing of biologics by numerous techniques including mass spectrometry.

 

Different compression approaches have been tested to reduce the size of mass spectrometry imaging data to allow the subsequent application of typical chemometric methods for image analysis.

Mass spectrometry for the detection of bioterrorism agents: from environmental to clinical applications

Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2016, 51, 183-199
Elodie Duriez, Jean Armengaud, François Fenaille and Eric Ezan

Abstract: In the current context of international conflicts and localized terrorist actions, there is unfortunately a permanent threat of attacks with unconventional warfare agents. Among these, biological agents such as toxins, microorganisms, and viruses deserve particular attention owing to their ease of production and dissemination. Mass spectrometry (MS)-based techniques for the detection and quantification of biological agents have a decisive role to play for countermeasures in a scenario of biological attacks. The application of MS to every field of both organic and macromolecular species has in recent years been revolutionized by the development of soft ionization techniques (MALDI and ESI), and by the continuous development of MS technologies (high resolution, accurate mass HR/AM instruments, novel analyzers, hybrid configurations). New possibilities have emerged for exquisite specific and sensitive detection of biological warfare agents. MS-based strategies for clinical application can now address a wide range of analytical questions mainly including issues related to the complexity of biological samples and their available volume. Multiplexed toxin detection, discovery of new markers through omics approaches, and identification of untargeted microbiological or of novel molecular targets are examples of applications. In this paper, we will present these technological advances along with the novel perspectives offered by omics approaches to clinical detection and follow-up.

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