Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy was employed to elucidate the macromolecular phenotype of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and their differentiated progeny. Undifferentiated hESCs and hiPSC lines were found to be not clearly distinguishable from each other. However, although both hESC and hiPSC variants appeared to undergo similar changes during differentiation in terms of cell surface antigens, the derived cell types from all cell lines could be discriminated using FTIR spectroscopy. We foresee a possible future role for FTIR microspectroscopy as a powerful and objective investigative and quality control tool in regenerative medicine. ((c) 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH Co. KGaA, Weinheim).