MALDI MS Imaging at Acquisition Rates Exceeding 100 Pixels per Second

  • Antonín Bednařík
  • Markéta Machálková
  • Eugene Moskovets
  • Kateřina Coufalíková
  • Pavel Krásenský
  • Pavel Houška
  • Jiří Kroupa
  • Jarmila Navrátilová
  • Jan Šmarda
  • Jan PreislerEmail author
Research Article


The practicality of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) applied to molecular imaging of biological tissues is limited by the analysis speed. Typically, a relatively low speed of stop-and-go micromotion of XY stages is considered as a factor substantially reducing the rate with which fresh sample material can be supplied to the laser spot. The sample scan rate in our laboratory-built high-throughput imaging TOF mass spectrometer was significantly improved through the use of a galvanometer-based optical scanner performing fast laser spot repositioning on a target plate. The optical system incorporated into the ion source of our MALDI TOF mass spectrometer allowed focusing the laser beam via a modified grid into a 10-μm round spot. This permitted the acquisition of high-resolution MS images with a well-defined pixel size at acquisition rates exceeding 100 pixel/s. The influence of selected parameters on the total MS imaging time is discussed. The new scanning technique was employed to display the distribution of an antitumor agent in 3D colorectal adenocarcinoma cell aggregates; a single MS image comprising 100 × 100 pixels with 10-μm lateral resolution was recorded in approximately 70 s.

Graphical Abstract


Mass spectrometry imaging Laser beam scanning MALDI TOF MSI High throughput Grid ion source 3D cell aggregates Spheroids Colorectal adenocarcinoma 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Grant Agency of the Masaryk University (MUNI/G/0974/2016), the Czech Science Foundation (GA 15-05387S) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic under the projects CEITEC 2020 (LQ1601), Translational Medicine (LQ1605) and NETME CENTRE PLUS (LO1202).

Supplementary material

13361_2018_2078_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1.12 MB)


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonín Bednařík
    • 1
    • 2
  • Markéta Machálková
    • 1
  • Eugene Moskovets
    • 3
  • Kateřina Coufalíková
    • 1
  • Pavel Krásenský
    • 1
  • Pavel Houška
    • 4
  • Jiří Kroupa
    • 4
  • Jarmila Navrátilová
    • 5
    • 6
  • Jan Šmarda
    • 5
  • Jan Preisler
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC)Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.MassTech Inc.ColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Faculty of Mechanical EngineeringBrno University of TechnologyBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  6. 6.Center for Biological and Cellular Engineering, International Clinical Research CenterSt. Anne’s University HospitalBrnoCzech Republic

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