African Journal of

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Biotechnol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1684-5315
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJB
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Published Articles: 12485


Bacterial species identification getting easier

Phumudzo Tshikhudo, Ronald Nnzeru*, Khayalethu Ntushelo and Fhatuwani Mudau
University of South Africa, Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, Private Bag X6, Florida, 1710, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 September 2013
  •  Published: 31 October 2013



The traditional methods of bacterial identification are based on observation of either the morphology of single cells or colony characteristics. However, the adoption of newer and automated methods offers advantage in terms of rapid and reliable identification of bacterial species. The review provides a comprehensive appreciation of new and improved technologies such fatty acid profiling, sequence analysis of the 16S rRNA gene, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI‑TOF), metabolic finger profiling using BIOLOG, ribotyping, together with the computational tools employed for querying the databases that are associated with these identification tools and high-throughput genomic sequencing in bacterial identification. It is evident that with the increase in the adoption of new technologies bacterial identification is becoming easier.


Key words: Bacteria, Biolog, computational tools, fatty acids, Gram staining, identification, metagenomics, morphology, MALDI-TOF MS, RiboPrinter, 16S rRNA gene.


MALDI-TOF MS, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry; TFA, trifluoroacetic acid; SEM, scanning electron microscopy; ISH, in situ hybridizationGC, gas chromatographyCFA, cellular fatty acid; FAME, fatty acid methyl ester analysis; PCR, polymerase chain reaction;RFLPs, restriction fragment length polymorphismsHTS, high-throughput sequencing.