Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry for the identification of clinically relevant bacteria

Author(s): Benagli C, Rossi V, Dolina M, Tonolla M, Petrini O


Background: Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) allows rapid and reliable identification of microorganisms, particularly clinically important pathogens.

Methodology/principal findings: We compared the identification efficiency of MALDI-TOF MS with that of Phoenix®, API® and 16S ribosomal DNA sequence analysis on 1,019 strains obtained from routine diagnostics. Further, we determined the agreement of MALDI-TOF MS identifications as compared to 16S gene sequencing for additional 545 strains belonging to species of Enterococcus, Gardnerella, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. For 94.7% of the isolates MALDI-TOF MS results were identical with those obtained with conventional systems. 16S sequencing confirmed MALDI-TOF MS identification in 63% of the discordant results. Agreement of identification of Gardnerella, Enterococcus, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus species between MALDI-TOF MS and traditional method was high (Crohn's kappa values: 0.9 to 0.93).

Conclusions/significance: MALDI-TOF MS represents a rapid, reliable and cost-effective identification technique for clinically relevant bacteria.

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