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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012 Nov;18(11):1097-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03696.x. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Rapid and accurate identification of genomic species from the Acinetobacter baumannii (Ab) group by MALDI-TOF MS.

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1
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, and Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB), Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

The closely related members of the Acinetobacter baumannii (Ab) group (A. baumannii, A. pittii and A. nosocomialis) are difficult to identify with phenotypic tests in diagnostic laboratories. Genotypic identification methods require special skills and most do not provide rapid results. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of MALDI-TOF MS to identify members of the Ab group. Sixty epidemiologically unrelated Acinetobacter spp. isolates were investigated by MALDI-TOF MS: 18 A. baumannii, 17 A. pittii, 18 A. nosocomialis and seven additional isolates representing other Acinetobacter spp. All strains were verified by ARDRA, rRNA intergenic spacer (ITS), recA sequencing and bla(OXA-51) . MALDI-TOF MS correctly identified all the genomic strains but erroneously identified A. nosocomialis as A. baumannii because there was no reference strain within the Bruker database. Peak analysis of individual spectra from representative strains of each member of A. baumannii, A. pittii and A. nosocomialis suggested enough differences between their protein signatures to allow accurate identification using MALDI-TOF MS. Inclusion of specific signature profiles for A. nosocomialis within the Bruker database allowed the correct identification of this genomic species. MALDI-TOF MS spectra can be used as a fast, simple and reliable method to identify members of the Ab group. The rapid and accurate identification of clinically significant Acinetobacter strains will improve insight into their epidemiology and allow for targeted therapeutic and infection control measures against clinically important strains.

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