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J Clin Microbiol. 2014 Jan;52(1):130-8. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01996-13. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Comparison of the Bruker Biotyper and Vitek MS matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry systems for identification of mycobacteria using simplified protein extraction protocols.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has recently been described as a fast and inexpensive method for the identification of mycobacteria. Although mycobacteria require extraction prior to MALDI-TOF MS analysis, previously published protocols have been relatively complex, involving significant hands-on time and materials not often found in the clinical laboratory. In this study, we tested two simplified protein extraction protocols developed at the University of Washington (UW) and by bioMérieux (BMX) for use with two different mass spectrometry platforms (the Bruker MALDI Biotyper and the bioMérieux Vitek MS, respectively). Both extraction protocols included vortexing with silica beads in the presence of ethanol. The commercial Bruker database was also augmented with an in-house database composed of 123 clinical Mycobacterium strains. A total of 198 clinical strains, representing 18 Mycobacterium species, were correctly identified to the species level 94.9% of the time when extracted using the UW protocol and compared to the augmented database. The BMX protocol and Vitek MS system resulted in correct species-level identifications for 94.4% of these strains. In contrast, only 79.3% of the strains were identified to the species level by the nonaugmented Bruker database, although the use of a lower identification score threshold (≥1.7) increased the identification rate to 93.9%, with two misidentifications that were unlikely to be clinically relevant. The two simplified protein extraction protocols described in this study are easy to use for identifying commonly encountered Mycobacterium species.

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