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J Clin Microbiol. 2003 Mar;41(3):954-9.

Use of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy for typing of Candida albicans strains isolated in intensive care units.

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Unité MéDIAN CNRS UMR 6142, IFR 53, UFR de Pharmacie, Université de Reims-Champagne Ardenne, 51096 Reims Cedex, France.


Comparative studies of Candida albicans strains are essential for proving cross-infections in epidemiological investigations. Typing of C. albicans strains is mainly based on genotypic methods. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is described in this study as a novel phenotypic approach to the typing of C. albicans. The first step in the approach was the standardization of sample preparation (culture conditions and sampling parameters) and acquisition and classification parameters (spectral acquisition, spectral window selection, classification algorithm, and heterogeneity threshold). The second step consisted of validating the established parameters with a set of 79 strains of C. albicans isolated over 4 months from nine patients hospitalized in two intensive care units. Strains were isolated from multiple anatomical sites with repeated sampling. FTIR spectroscopy results were compared to randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) results; this analysis showed that the amplification patterns of strains isolated from a given patient were identical and that different patients had different profiles. FTIR spectroscopy data were analyzed by hierarchical clustering performed with the second-derivative spectra. This classification revealed nine groups, one per patient. Only one spectrum out of 79 was misclassified by the FTIR spectroscopy method. RAPD and FTIR spectroscopy results were in good agreement, showing that, when nosocomial candidiasis transmission is suspected and urgent information is needed, this technique may be useful as a quick identification tool to give solid clues before confirmation by a genotypic method.

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