Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20237092
Link to DOI – 10.1128/JCM.02485-09
J. Clin. Microbiol. 2010 May; 48(5): 1542-8
Delays in the identification of microorganisms are a barrier to the establishment of adequate empirical antibiotic therapy of bacteremia. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) allows the identification of microorganisms directly from colonies within minutes. In this study, we have adapted and tested this technology for use with blood culture broths, thus allowing identification in less than 30 min once the blood culture is detected as positive. Our method is based on the selective recovery of bacteria by adding a detergent that solubilizes blood cells but not microbial membranes. Microorganisms are then extracted by centrifugation and analyzed by MALDI-TOF-MS. This strategy was first tested by inoculating various bacterial and fungal species into negative blood culture bottles. We then tested positive patient blood or fluid samples grown in blood culture bottles, and the results obtained by MALDI-TOF-MS were compared with those obtained using conventional strategies. Three hundred twelve spiked bottles and 434 positive cultures from patients were analyzed. Among monomicrobial fluids, MALDI-TOF-MS allowed a reliable identification at the species, group, and genus/family level in 91%, 5%, and 2% of cases, respectively, in 20 min. In only 2% of these samples, MALDI-TOF MS did not yield any result. When blood cultures were multibacterial, identification was improved by using specific databases based on the Gram staining results. MALDI-TOF-MS is currently the fastest technique to accurately identify microorganisms grown in positive blood culture broths.