Two important plant pathogenic bacteria Acidovorax oryzae and Acidovorax citrulli are closely related and often not easy to be differentiated from each other, which often resulted in a false identification between them based on traditional methods such as carbon source utilization profile, fatty acid methyl esters, and ELISA detection tests. MALDI-TOF MS and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra have recently been successfully applied in bacterial identification and classification, which provide an alternate method for differentiating the two species.
Characterization and comparison of the 10 A. oryzae strains and 10 A. citrulli strains were performed based on traditional bacteriological methods, MALDI-TOF MS, and FTIR spectroscopy. Our results showed that the identity of the two closely related plant pathogenic bacteria A. oryzae and A. citrulli was able to be confirmed by both pathogenicity tests and species-specific PCR, but the two species were difficult to be differentiated based on Biolog and FAME profile as well as 16S rRNA sequence analysis. However, there were significant differences in MALDI-TOF MS and FTIR spectra between the two species of Acidovorax. MALDI-TOF MS revealed that 22 and 18 peaks were specific to A. oryzae and A. citrulli, respectively, while FTIR spectra of the two species of Acidovorax have the specific peaks at 1738, 1311, 1128, 1078, 989cm-1 and at 1337, 968, 933, 916, 786cm-1, respectively.
This study indicated that MALDI-TOF MS and FTIR spectra may give a new strategy for rapid bacterial identification and differentiation of the two closely related species of Acidovorax.