Industrial and Manufacturing, Medical

The Benefits of MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

Summary: MALDI-TOF offers researchers a new level of precision in the laboratory.

Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry has become the gold standard in DNA and RNA polymer production.

DNA synthesis and RNA synthesis are delicate processes and the introduction of MALDI-TOF over thirty years ago has helped the industry exponentially. Commercially manufactured DNA synthesizers that are capable of producing high sequence oligonucleotides allow a wide variety of processes to be completed, including purification, gene synthesis, oligo synthesis, and countless types of oligo modifications.

Some such modifications include fluorophores, degeneracies, and dual-labeled probes, among over two hundred others. Available printouts of the MALDI-TOF mass spectrum provide thorough details, and indicate when modifications have been highly successful.

Genetic immunization, when necessary, can also be completed effectively using the MALDI-TOF technology. Many times, however, GF-grade oligonucleotides require no further purification after the initial DNA synthesis or RNA synthesis.

Small biomolecules and large macromolecules tend to be fragile, and MALDI-TOF, being a soft ionization technique, provides a simpler and more effective three-step technique—application, ablation and desorption, and protonation—in the process of both DNA synthesis and RNA synthesis.

In medicine, MALDI-TOF is highly effective as a diagnostic tool in certain very aggressive types of cancer. Only MALDI-TOF can be used to hone in on a specific membrane protein commonly seen in the early stages of pancreatic cancer.

MALDI-TOF was pioneered in the mid-1980s by a group of researchers who discovered that when two amino acids, tryptophan and alanine, are combined and then irradiated with a pulsing laser, they can be ionized much more easily.

Bio: The Midland Certified Reagent Company offers oligos to be used in gene synthesis and other forms of medical research.

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