Journal of applied microbiology

Expanding the Klebsiella pneumoniae volatile metabolome using advanced analytical instrumentation for the detection of novel metabolites.

PMID 27930839


The purpose of this study was to identify the volatile molecules produced by the pathogenic Gram-negative bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC 13883) during in vitro growth using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS). Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 13883 was incubated in lysogeny broth to mid-exponential and stationary growth phases. Headspace volatile molecules from culture supernatants were concentrated using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and analysed via GC×GC-TOFMS. Ninety-two K. pneumoniae-associated volatile molecules were detected, of which 78 (85%) were detected at both phases of growth and 14 (15%) were detected at either mid-exponential or stationary growth phases. This study has increased the total number of reported K. pneumoniae-associated volatile molecules from 77 to 150, demonstrating the sensitivity and resolution achieved by employing GC×GC-TOFMS for the analysis of bacterial headspace volatiles. This study represents an early-stage comprehensive volatile metabolomic analysis of an opportunistic bacterial pathogen. Characterizing the volatile molecules produced by K. pneumoniae during in vitro growth could provide us with a better understanding of this organisms' metabolism, an area that has not been extensively studied to date.