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Usefulness of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry to identify pathogens, including polymicrobial samples, directly from blood culture broths

Authors Hariu M, Watanabe Y, Oikawa N, Seki M

Received 21 January 2017

Accepted for publication 3 March 2017

Published 19 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 115—120


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Suresh Antony

Maya Hariu,1,2 Yuji Watanabe,1,2 Nozomi Oikawa,1,2 Masafumi Seki1

1Division of Infectious Diseases and Infection Control, 2Laboratory for Clinical Microbiology, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University Hospital, Sendai, Japan

Abstract: Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) is now widely used to detect pathogens in clinical settings in Japan. Here, we report the ability of TOF-MS to detect bacteria from blood culture (BC) broths, and compare the efficacy of TOF-MS to that of conventional culture methods. Bacteria were correctly detected from 63 monomicrobial samples within 80 minutes; results matched those obtained by conventional BC methods, although the conventional methods took 2–3 days. In addition to the 63 monomicrobial samples, another three polymicrobial samples were tested; notably, the infecting bacteria were not correctly identified in two of these three samples. To better assess the TOF-MS detection of polymicrobial samples, we tested various ratios of mixed broth samples, including combinations of the bacteria that we were unable to detect in clinical samples. Combinations of Enterobacter cloacae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were correctly detected at a culture ratio of 2:1, but not in the 3:1 mixture. These results suggested that TOF-MS is a strong tool for the rapid and correct detection of pathogens from monomicrobial BC samples, though results need to be carefully checked when handling known or suspected polymicrobial samples.

Keywords: bacteremia, polymicrobial sample, Enterobacter cloaca, Pseudomonasa aeruginosa

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