Differentiation of Fungal Phytopathogens by FT-IR and MALDI-TOF MS
Atkinson, Curtis Muldrow
CommitteeSparks, Darrell L., Jr.
Rodriguez, Jose M.
The use of matrix assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and other analytical means of identifying and differentiating microorganisms hold much promise. These analytical tools have been extensively assessed for their ability to differentiate bacteria and fungi. Most of this research has been coordinated in medically relevant microorganisms, but the technology can work just as well with agriculturally important microorganisms. In this thesis, these technologies were reviewed and then subsequently studied for their ability to differentiate Aspergillus species (that devastate corn and other crops yearly with aflatoxin contamination), as well as Macrophomina phaseolina and Thielaviopsis basicola which limit yields on soybean and other crops yearly. With the use of these technologies, harmful plant pathogens could be identified and subsequently treated to improve crop yields and also help to protect our nation and state’s food supply.