, Volume 400, Issue 7, pp 1905-1911
Date: 26 Mar 2011

Use of the MALDI BioTyper system with MALDI–TOF mass spectrometry for rapid identification of microorganisms

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In a clinical diagnosis microbiology laboratory, the current method of identifying bacterial isolates is based mainly on phenotypic characteristics, for example growth pattern on different media, colony morphology, Gram stain, and various biochemical reactions. These techniques collectively enable great accuracy in identifying most bacterial isolates, but are costly and time-consuming. In our clinical microbiology laboratory, we prospectively assessed the ability of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI–TOF MS) to identify bacterial strains that were routinely isolated from clinical samples. Bacterial colonies obtained from a total of 468 strains of 92 bacterial species isolated at the Department of Clinical Laboratory at Chiba University were directly placed on target MALDI plates followed by addition of CHCA matrix solution. The plates were then subjected to MALDI–TOF MS measurement and the microorganisms were identified by pattern matching with the libraries in the BioTyper 2.0 software. Identification success at the species and genus levels was 91.7% (429/468) and 97.0% (454/468), respectively. MALDI–TOF MS is a rapid, simple, and high-throughput proteomic technique for identification of a variety of bacterial species. Because colony-to-colony differences and effects of culture duration on the results are minimal, it can be implemented in a conventional laboratory setting. Although for some pathogens, preanalytical processes should be refined, and the current database should be improved to obtain more accurate results, the MALDI–TOF MS based method performs, in general, as well as conventional methods and is a promising technology in clinical laboratories.

Published in the special issue Biomedical Mass Spectrometry with Guest Editors Hisao Oka and Mitsutoshi Setou.