Advancement in the routine identification of anaerobic bacteria by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry

L. Coltella, L. Mancinelli, M. Onori, B. Lucignano, D. Menichella, R. Sorge, M. Raponi, R. Mancini, C. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluated matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) Biotyper as a tool for the identification of anaerobic bacteria compared with 500 base-pair (bp) 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene sequencing analysis, which is considered to be the "gold standard" method. A total of 484 anaerobic bacteria were retrieved from the clinical specimens of 318 pediatric patients. Molecular identification resulted in 18 genera and 51 species. The most prevalent genus was Clostridium (76.85 %), with 70 % C. difficile isolates. The concordance and sensitivity determined by MALDI-TOF MS for C. difficile, the most prevalent species isolated, was 94.08 %, whereas the specificity was 100 %. For the other anaerobes, the sensitivity and specificity were 94.07 % and 81.82 %, respectively, with a concordance of 93.15 %. Low performance was observed for Propionibacterium acnes and Fusobacterium nucleatum, for which a dedicated pretreatment procedure should likely be set up. MALDI-TOF MS was shown to be a valid alternative for the fast and reliable identification of the most clinically relevant anaerobic bacteria; moreover, it is less time-consuming, the cost for reagents is minimized, and it does not require dedicated personnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1192
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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