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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2010 Nov;16(11):1631-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2010.03356.x.

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry identifies 90% of bacteria directly from blood culture vials.

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Institute of Bacteriology, Université de Strasbourg, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, France.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is now widely used for marker/multi-biomarker detection in medical diagnosis. We tested a new protocol for bacterial identification from blood culture broths in hospital routine by using collection tubes with separator gels on 503 included samples examined over 3 months, where 1.5 mL was injected by a syringe into BD Vacutainer tubes from BACTEC-positive bottles, before processing for bacterial protein extraction. Samples were loaded in duplicate onto the MALDI MS target, allowing a series of 12 samples to be processed in duplicate within 80 min by using Biflex III and BioTyper 2.0 software (Bruker). Including polymicrobial samples, 193 of 213 of Gram-negative bacteria (91.08%) and 284 of 319 of Gram-positive bacteria (89.02%) were correctly identified at the species level. Enterobacteriaceae constituted 35.15% of all species found, Staphylococaceae 37.96%, Streptococaceae and Enterococaceae 20.85%, Pseudomonadaceae 1.69%, and anaerobes 2.44%. In most of the polymicrobial samples, one of the species present was identified (80.9%). Seven isolates remained misidentified as Streptococcus pneumoniae, all belonging to Streptococcus mitis. Staphylococcus aureus was identified better when grown on anaero-aerobic medium, and MALDI BioTyper identification scores as low as 1.4 were pertinent, provided that four successive proposals of the same species were given. This new protocol correlates with conventional microbiology procedures by up to 90%, and by >95% for only monomicrobial samples, and provides a decreased turn-around time for identification of bacteria isolated from blood cultures, making this technology suitable also for blood cultures, with less delay and cost decreases in bacterial diagnostics, and favouring better care of patients.

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