Products: Sherlock® Microbial ID System (MIS)

Fatty acid methyl ester analysis by gas chromatography (GC-FAME) has been used for over 50 years to identify microbes in environmental and clinical settings. FAME-based identification is a dynamic test of the organism. It is specific to growth conditions, including the media and temperature used. Different libraries are available for different growth conditions, and custom libraries can be created based on the customer's unique needs. In addition to identification, FAME analysis is often specific enough to allow for strain or sub-species level comparisons.

The Sherlock Microbial Identification System (MIS) was launched in 1991 and represents a rapid, accurate and inexpensive solution for the identification of over 1,500 microbial species by GC-FAME analysis. The Sherlock MIS is recognized by the U.S. CDC for the identification of aerobic bacteria and is AOAC INTERNATIONAL cleared for the identification of Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax pathogen. The Sherlock MIS was
created by microbiologists for microbiologists, so no GC experience is necessary.

In 2007 MIDI released Sherlock Instant FAMETM (I-FAME), a base-catalyzed GC-FAME extraction and analysis method.  I-FAME is most useful for Gram-positive environmental aerobes and FAME analysis of non-microbes (e.g. animal tissue, edible oils, biofuel feedstocks, etc.).  The turnaround time (TAT) for IFAME is less than
15 minutes.

Q-FAME procedure

In 2011 MIDI released Sherlock Q-FAMETM (Q-FAME), an acid-catalyzed GC-FAME extraction and analysis method.  Q-FAME is most useful for Aerobic bacteria of importance to pharmaceutical QC (including all USP 61/62 strains), as well as clinical reference laboratories.  The turnaround time (TAT) for Q-FAME is less than 25 minutes.

In addition to microbial ID, the Sherlock MIS can be used to analyze fatty acids and related compounds from soil (e.g. PLFA), algal biofuels and omega-3 fatty acids, thereby increasing the systems utility. In 2012, MIDI released the PLFAD1 Method and Tools Package. PLFAD1 names over 150 PLFAs and related compounds and can be used for fatty acid analysis from any source.

What makes the Sherlock MIS unique is that all microbes are analyzed using the same procedure, with no offline tests, gram stains or biochemical cards required. The system is U.S. FDA 21CFR Part 11 compliant and IQ/OQ packages are available to aid with system validation.

Key Features of the Sherlock MIS include:

  • Fatty acid analysis (FAME) and Microbial ID.
  • Microbial community analysis (PLFA).
  • Inexpensive per sample cost.
  • Automated analysis and naming.
  • Throughput over 100 samples per day.
  • No biochemical kits or cards.
  • Comprehensive data analysis tools.
  • Proven reliability and warranty.
  • Polyphasic Analysis with Sherlock DNA


Contact MIDI for further information on the Sherlock MIS System.