An improved in-house MALDI-TOF MS protocol for direct cost-effective identification of pathogens from blood cultures

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© 2017 Zhou, Yang, Kudinha, Sun, Zhang, Liu, Yu, Xiao, Kong, Zhao and Xu. Background: Bloodstream infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients worldwide. Delays in the identification of microorganisms often leads to a poor prognosis. The application of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) directly to blood culture (BC) broth can potentially identify bloodstream infections earlier, and facilitate timely management. Methods: We developed an "in-house" (IH) protocol for direct MALDI-TOF MS based identification of organisms in positive BCs. The IH protocol was initially evaluated and improved with spiked BC samples, and its performance was compared with the commercial Sepsityper™ kit using both traditional and modified cut-offvalues. We then studied in parallel the performance of the IH protocol and the colony MS identifications in positive clinical BC samples using only modified cut-offvalues. All discrepancies were investigated by "gold standard" of gene sequencing. Results: In 54 spiked BC samples, the IH method showed comparable results with Sepsityper™ after applying modified cut-offvalues. Specifically, accurate species and genus level identification was achieved in 88.7 and 3.9% of all the clinical monomicrobial BCs (284/301, 94.4%), respectively. The IH protocol exhibited superior performance for Gram negative bacteria than for Gram positive bacteria (92.8 vs. 82.4%). For anaerobes and yeasts, accurate species identification was achieved in 80.0 and 90.0% of the cases, respectively. For polymicrobial cultures (17/301, 5.6%), MALDI-TOF MS correctly identified a single species present in all the polymicrobial BCs under the Standard mode, while using the MIXED method, two species were correctly identified in 52.9% of the samples. Comparisons based on BC bottle type, showed that the BACTEC™ Lytic/10 Anaerobic/F culture vials performed the best. Conclusion: Our study provides a novel and effective sample preparation method for MALDI-TOF MS direct identification of pathogens from positive BC vials, with a lower cost ($1.5 vs. $ 7) albeit a slightly more laborious extracting process (an extra 15 min) compared with Sepsityper™ kit.




Zhou, M., Yang, Q., Kudinha, T., Sun, L., Zhang, R., Liu, C., … Xu, Y. C. (2017). An improved in-house MALDI-TOF MS protocol for direct cost-effective identification of pathogens from blood cultures. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8(SEP).

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