Evaluation of the vitek ms matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry system for identification of clinically relevant filamentous fungi

Allison Rebecca McMullen, Meghan A. Wallace, David H. Pincus, Kathy Wilkey, Carey Ann D. Burnham

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25 Scopus citations


Invasive fungal infections have a high rate of morbidity and mortality, and accurate identification is necessary to guide appropriate antifungal therapy. With the increasing incidence of invasive disease attributed to filamentous fungi, rapid and accurate species-level identification of these pathogens is necessary. Traditional methods for identification of filamentous fungi can be slow and may lack resolution. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDi-TOF MS) has emerged as a rapid and accurate method for identification of bacteria and yeasts, but a paucity of data exists on the performance characteristics of this method for identification of filamentous fungi. The objective of our study was to evaluate the accuracy of the Vitek MS for mold identification. A total of 319 mold isolates representing 43 genera recovered from clinical specimens were evaluated. Of these isolates, 213 (66.8%) were correctly identified using the Vitek MS Knowledge Base, version 3.0 database. When a modified SARAMIS (Spectral Archive and Microbial Identification System) database was used to augment the version 3.0 Knowledge Base, 245 (76.8%) isolates were correctly identified. Unidentified isolates were subcultured for repeat testing; 71/ 319 (22.3%) remained unidentified. Of the unidentified isolates, 69 were not in the database. Only 3 (0.9%) isolates were misidentified by MALDi-TOF MS (including Aspergillus amoenus [n + 2] and Aspergillus calidoustus [n + 1]) although 10 (3.1%) of the original phenotypic identifications were not correct. In addition, this methodology was able to accurately identify 133/144 (93.6%) Aspergillus sp. isolates to the species level. MALDi-TOF MS has the potential to expedite mold identification, and misidentifications are rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2068-2073
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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