Indexed on: 04 Oct '14Published on: 04 Oct '14Published in: Clinical chemistry
First introduced into clinical microbiology laboratories in Europe, MALDI-TOF MS is being rapidly embraced by laboratories around the globe. Although it has multiple applications, its widespread adoption in clinical microbiology relates to its use as an inexpensive, easy, fast, and accurate method for identification of grown bacteria and fungi based on automated analysis of the mass distribution of bacterial proteins.This review provides a historical perspective on this new technology. Modern applications in the clinical microbiology laboratory are reviewed with a focus on the most recent publications in the field. Identification of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, mycobacteria, and fungi are discussed, as are applications for testing urine and positive blood culture bottles. The strengths and limitations of MALDI-TOF MS applications in clinical microbiology are also addressed.MALDI-TOF MS is a tool for rapid, accurate, and cost-effective identification of cultured bacteria and fungi in clinical microbiology. The technology is automated, high throughput, and applicable to a broad range of common as well as esoteric bacteria and fungi. MALDI-TOF MS is an incontrovertibly beneficial technology for the clinical microbiology laboratory.