Using Thermo Scientific’s LTQ Orbitrap mass spectrometry technology, HPA researchers have identified the protein toxins expressed by the deadly strain, which has resulted in 37 deaths and made nearly 3,400 people ill.

Orbitrap technology enabled scientists to identify and analyze the protein fingerprint of this new strain of E coli using a proteomic method.

Thermo Fisher and the HPA are collaborating in a study on the use of mass spectrometry to better understand the role of microorganisms in causing illness and disease in humans.

The HPA was assisted in its effort by representatives from Thermo Fisher’s Hemel-Hempstead, UK facility.

Thermo Fisher Scientific global research and development vice president Ian Jardine said the this study is conducted by scientists is to develop techniques to study microorganisms and determine how the genetic code is being translated into the protein building blocks that determine traits such as toxicity.