Rapid identification of dinoflagellates using protein profiling with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry

Fred Wang Fat Lee, Kin Chung Ho, Chun Lap Samuel Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) or red tides is an important and expanding threat to human health, fishery resources, and the tourism industries. Toxic species post an additional treat of intoxication when consumed either in seafood or directly swallowed. Rapid and accurate identification of the HAB species is critical for minimizing or controlling the damage. We report the use of protein/peptide mass fingerprint profiles obtained with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) for the identification of dinoflagellates, common causative agents of HABs. The method is simple, fast and reproducible. The peptide mass fingerprint spectral patterns are unique for different dinoflagellate species and are easily distinguishable by visual inspection. In addition to the whole mass spectra, several specific biomarkers were identified from the mass spectra of different species. These biomarker ions and the mass spectral patterns form an unambiguous basis for species discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2008


  • Dinoflagellates
  • Harmful algal blooms (HABs)
  • Identification
  • Protein profiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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