“They chose SIFT-MS for plant micropropagation screening because its rapid, selective and sensitive analysis has potential for screening of commercial volumes of tissue cultures.”

Vaughan Langford Syft Technologies Director - Applications & Marketing

Dr. Vaughan Langford

BSc(Hons), PhD

Principal Scientist / Consultant

Vaughan joined Syft in 2002 after completing his PhD in Physical Chemistry at the University of Canterbury (1997) and post-doctoral fellowships at the Universities of Geneva, Western Australia, and Canterbury.

As manager of Syft’s contract laboratory, Vaughan has worked extensively with customers to understand their analysis needs and develop market-tested SIFT-MS solutions.

Vaughan has experience across all SIFT-MS application areas, but has particular expertise in environmental and food industry applications. He is an expert in SIFT-MS application and method development.

In addition to the technical aspects of his role, Vaughan attends and presents on many of Syft’s webinars and attends various conferences on our behalf.

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).


For more information on SIFT-MS, its automation and its applications for microbial VOC analysis.

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