Latent bacterial contamination of in vitro plant systems can affect the growth and propagation of these systems. When the bacteria are triggered by sudden changes in growth conditions, they can then multiply at astonishing rates, resulting in serious losses in both commercial and academic tissue culture laboratories. Early detection of these elusive latent microorganisms is therefore essential, with one approach being to detect changes in the biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) fingerprint of contaminated plant cultures.
Research recently published by Werbrouck, Verholle and Van Langenhove (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University, Belgium) has applied Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) to this problem. They chose SIFT-MS because its rapid, selective and sensitive analysis has potential for rapid screening of commercial volumes of tissue cultures.
Werbrouck and coworkers compared the volatile profiles of two plant species inoculated with E.coli to each other, and to presumed clean plant tissue cultures. Initial results indicate that SIFT-MS is a promising technique for the rapid detection of BVOCs in bacterial-contaminated plants.
For more information on this research, see the conference paper “Volatile indicators of contamination in tissue cultures” by S. Werbrouck, P. Verholle and H. Van Langenhove, published by the International Society for Horticultural Science’s Acta Horticulturae (volume 1155: https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1155.34).