FTIR has transformed the identification of chemical raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry and shows promise for the quantitative analysis of the finished product. The basis of the identification is that different molecules are excited by absorption of infrared radiation, and this excitation can be measured and a fingerprint of absorption maxima determined. Bacteria can be subject to the same technique and produce highly complex absorption patterns. By selecting a specific spectral range across which to measure the fingerprint, some of this complexity can be reduced but still enable, by comparison to the spectra of a known organism, an identification to be made. Although experimental data is scarce the technique appears to even differentiate between different strains of the same organism, at least across the limited range studied. The authors are not aware of any commercialization of the technique but clearly with the widespread use of FTIR for chemical analysis, this should not prevent its use.*
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