Characterization of bacteria by oxidative and non-oxidative pyrolysis-gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry

Philip B. Smith, A. Peter Snyder

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Three bacterial species were characterized by analysis of their lipid composition with a quartz tube pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) system. Bacteria were pyrolyzed under both oxidative (in air) and non-oxidative (in helium) conditions. The components of the bacteria, generated by pyrolysis, were mass analyzed using an ion trap detector following chromatographic separation on a short (5 m) capillary GC column. The total analysis time, including sample processing, was under 15 min. The bacteria were differentiated from each other by visual examination of the patterns of their lipid components. Despite relatively extensive data analysis, the results obtained under oxidative pyrolysis conditions were indistinguishable from those obtained under non-oxidative pyrolysis conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1993


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Fuel Technology

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