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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2017 May;36(5):807-812. doi: 10.1007/s10096-016-2864-9. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for rapid identification of micro-organisms in the routine clinical microbiology laboratory.

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Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, Delhi, 110060, India.
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, Delhi, 110060, India.


The study evaluates the utility of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) Vitek MS for identification of microorganisms in the routine clinical microbiology laboratory. From May 2013 to April 2014, microbial isolates recovered from various clinical samples were identified by Vitek MS. In case of failure to identify by Vitek MS, the isolate was identified using the Vitek 2 system (bioMerieux, France) and serotyping wherever applicable or otherwise by nucleic acid-mediated methods. All the moulds were identified by Lactophenol blue mounts, and mycobacterial isolates were identified by molecular identification systems including AccuProbe (bioMerieux, France) or GenoType Mycobacterium CM (Hain Lifescience, Germany). Out of the 12,003 isolates, the Vitek MS gave a good overall ID at the genus and or species level up to 97.7% for bacterial isolates, 92.8% for yeasts and 80% for filamentous fungi. Of the 26 mycobacteria tested, only 42.3% could be identified using the Saramis RUO (Research Use Only) database. VITEK MS could not identify 34 of the 35 yeast isolates identified as C. haemulonii by Vitek 2. Subsequently, 17 of these isolates were identified as Candida auris (not present in the Vitek MS database) by 18S rRNA sequencing. Using these strains, an in-house superspectrum of C. auris was created in the VITEK MS database. Use of MALDI-TOF MS allows a rapid identification of aerobic bacteria and yeasts in clinical practice. However, improved sample extraction protocols and database upgrades with inclusion of locally representative strains is required, especially for moulds.

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