Advantage of MALDI-TOF-MS over biochemical-based phenotyping for microbial identification illustrated on industrial applications


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Abstract

Fast microbial identification is becoming increasingly necessary in industry to improve microbial control and reduce biocide consumption. We compared the performances of two systems based on MALDI-TOF MS (VITEK MS and BIOTYPER) and two based on biochemical testing (BIOLOG, VITEK 2 Compact) with genetic methods for the identification of environmental bacteria. At genus level both MALDI-TOF MS-based systems showed the lowest number of false (4%) and approx. 60% correct identifications. In contrast, the biochemical-based systems assigned 25% of the genera incorrectly. The differences were even more apparent at the species level. The BIOTYPER was most conservative, where assigning a species led to the lowest percentage of species identifications (54%) but also to the least wrong assignments (4%). The other three systems showed higher levels of false assignments: 8·7, 40 and 46% respectively. The genus identification performance on four industrial products of the BIOTYPER could be increased up to 94·3% (average 88% of 167 isolates) by evolving the database in a product specific manner. Comparison of the bacterial population in the example of paints, and raw materials used therein, at different production steps demonstrated unequivocally that the contamination of the final paint product originated not from the main raw material.Significance and Impact of the Study:MALDI-TOF-MS has revolutionized speed and precision of microbial identification for clinical isolates outperforming conventional methods. In contrast, few performance studies have been published so far focusing on suitability for particularly industrial applications, geomicrobiology and environmental analytics. This study evaluates the performance of this proteomic phenotyping on such industrial isolates in comparison with biochemical-based phenotyping and genotyping. Further the study exemplifies the power of MALDI-TOF-MS to trace cost-efficiently the dominating cultivable bacterial species throughout an industrial paint production process. Vital information can be retrieved to identify the most crucial contaminating source for the final product.Significance and Impact of the Study: MALDI-TOF-MS has revolutionized speed and precision of microbial identification for clinical isolates outperforming conventional methods. In contrast, few performance studies have been published so far focusing on suitability for particularly industrial applications, geomicrobiology and environmental analytics. This study evaluates the performance of this proteomic phenotyping on such industrial isolates in comparison with biochemical-based phenotyping and genotyping. Further the study exemplifies the power of MALDI-TOF-MS to trace cost-efficiently the dominating cultivable bacterial species throughout an industrial paint production process. Vital information can be retrieved to identify the most crucial contaminating source for the final product.

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