Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 22535981
J. Clin. Microbiol. 2012 Jul;50(7):2277-81
Dermatophytes are keratinolytic fungi responsible for a wide variety of diseases of glabrous skin, nails, and hair. Their identification, currently based on morphological criteria, is hindered by intraspecies morphological variability and the atypical morphology of some clinical isolates. The aim of this study was to evaluate matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) as a routine tool for identifying dermatophyte and Neoscytalidium species, both of which cause dermatomycoses. We first developed a spectral database of 12 different species of common and unusual dermatophytes and two molds responsible for dermatomycoses (Neoscytalidium dimidiatum and N. dimidiatum var. hyalinum). We then prospectively tested the performance of the database on 381 clinical dermatophyte and Neoscytalidium isolates. Correct identification of the species was obtained for 331/360 dermatophytes (91.9%) and 18/21 Neoscytalidium isolates (85.7%). The results of MALDI-TOF MS and standard identification disagreed for only 2 isolates. These results suggest that MALDI-TOF MS could be a useful tool for routine and fast identification of dermatophytes and Neoscytalidium spp. in clinical mycology laboratories.