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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;31(11):3073-7. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1667-x. Epub 2012 Jun 17.

Evaluation of species-specific PCR, Bruker MS, VITEK MS and the VITEK 2 system for the identification of clinical Enterococcus isolates.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, 141 86, Stockholm, Sweden.


The purpose of this investigation was to compare the performance of species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and phenotypic identification systems for the identification of Enterococcus species. A total of 132 clinical isolates were investigated by the following: (1) a multiplex real-time PCR assay targeting ddl Enterococcus faecium, ddl Enterococcus faecalis, vanC1 and vanC2/C3 genes, and a high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis of the groESL gene for the differentiation of Enterococcus casseliflavus and Enterococcus gallinarum; (2) Bruker MS; (3) VITEK MS; and (4) the VITEK 2 system. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used as a reference method in the study. The 132 isolates were identified as 32 E. faecalis, 63 E. faecium, 16 E. casseliflavus and 21 E. gallinarum. The multiplex PCR, Bruker MS and VITEK MS were able to identify all the isolates correctly at the species level. The VITEK 2 system could identify 131/132 (99.2 %) and 121/132 (91.7 %) of the isolates at the genus and species levels, respectively. The HRM-groESL assay identified all (21/21) E. gallinarum isolates and 81.3 % (13/16) of the E. casseliflavus isolates. The PCR methods described in the present study are effective in identifying the enterococcal species. MALDI-TOF MS is a rapid, reliable and cost-effective identification technique for enterococci. The VITEK 2 system is less efficient at detecting non-faecalis and non-faecium Enterococcus species.

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