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      Mould Routine Identification in the Clinical Laboratory by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry

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          MALDI-TOF MS recently emerged as a valuable identification tool for bacteria and yeasts and revolutionized the daily clinical laboratory routine. But it has not been established for routine mould identification. This study aimed to validate a standardized procedure for MALDI-TOF MS-based mould identification in clinical laboratory.

          Materials and Methods

          First, pre-extraction and extraction procedures were optimized. With this standardized procedure, a 143 mould strains reference spectra library was built. Then, the mould isolates cultured from sequential clinical samples were prospectively subjected to this MALDI-TOF MS based-identification assay. MALDI-TOF MS-based identification was considered correct if it was concordant with the phenotypic identification; otherwise, the gold standard was DNA sequence comparison-based identification.


          The optimized procedure comprised a culture on sabouraud-gentamicin-chloramphenicol agar followed by a chemical extraction of the fungal colonies with formic acid and acetonitril. The identification was done using a reference database built with references from at least four culture replicates. For five months, 197 clinical isolates were analyzed; 20 were excluded because they were not identified at the species level. MALDI-TOF MS-based approach correctly identified 87% (154/177) of the isolates analyzed in a routine clinical laboratory activity. It failed in 12% (21/177), whose species were not represented in the reference library. MALDI-TOF MS-based identification was correct in 154 out of the remaining 156 isolates. One Beauveria bassiana was not identified and one Rhizopus oryzae was misidentified as Mucor circinelloides.


          This work's seminal finding is that a standardized procedure can also be used for MALDI-TOF MS-based identification of a wide array of clinically relevant mould species. It thus makes it possible to identify moulds in the routine clinical laboratory setting and opens new avenues for the development of an integrated MALDI-TOF MS-based solution for the identification of any clinically relevant microorganism.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Ongoing revolution in bacteriology: routine identification of bacteria by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

          Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry accurately identifies both selected bacteria and bacteria in select clinical situations. It has not been evaluated for routine use in the clinic. We prospectively analyzed routine MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry identification in parallel with conventional phenotypic identification of bacteria regardless of phylum or source of isolation. Discrepancies were resolved by 16S ribosomal RNA and rpoB gene sequence-based molecular identification. Colonies (4 spots per isolate directly deposited on the MALDI-TOF plate) were analyzed using an Autoflex II Bruker Daltonik mass spectrometer. Peptidic spectra were compared with the Bruker BioTyper database, version 2.0, and the identification score was noted. Delays and costs of identification were measured. Of 1660 bacterial isolates analyzed, 95.4% were correctly identified by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry; 84.1% were identified at the species level, and 11.3% were identified at the genus level. In most cases, absence of identification (2.8% of isolates) and erroneous identification (1.7% of isolates) were due to improper database entries. Accurate MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry identification was significantly correlated with having 10 reference spectra in the database (P=.01). The mean time required for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry identification of 1 isolate was 6 minutes for an estimated 22%-32% cost of current methods of identification. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is a cost-effective, accurate method for routine identification of bacterial isolates in or =10 reference spectra per bacterial species and a 1.9 identification score (Brucker system). It may replace Gram staining and biochemical identification in the near future.
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            Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. Because of their pharmacological activity, some mycotoxins or mycotoxin derivatives have found use as antibiotics, growth promotants, and other kinds of drugs; still others have been implicated as chemical warfare agents. This review focuses on the most important ones associated with human and veterinary diseases, including aflatoxin, citrinin, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone.
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              Molecular analysis and pathogenicity of the Cladophialophora carrionii complex, with the description of a novel species

              Cladophialophora carrionii is one of the four major etiologic agents of human chromoblastomycosis in semi-arid climates. This species was studied using sequence data of the internal transcribed spacer region of rDNA, the partial β-tubulin gene and an intron in the translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene, in addition to morphology. With all genes a clear bipartition was observed, which corresponded with minute differences in conidiophore morphology. A new species, C. yegresii, was introduced, which appeared to be, in contrast to C. carrionii, associated with living cactus plants. All strains from humans, and a few isolates from dead cactus debris, belonged to C. carrionii, for which a lectotype was designated. Artificial inoculation of cactus plants grown from seeds in the greenhouse showed that both fungi are able to persist in cactus tissue. When reaching the spines they produce cells that morphologically resemble the muriform cells known as the “invasive form” in chromoblastomycosis. The tested clinical strain of C. carrionii proved to be more virulent in cactus than the environmental strain of C. yegresii that originated from the same species of cactus, Stenocereus griseus. The muriform cell expressed in cactus spines can be regarded as the extremotolerant survival phase, and is likely to play an essential role in the natural life cycle of these organisms.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                14 December 2011
                : 6
                : 12
                [1 ]Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, CHU Timone, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France
                [2 ]Service Protéomique, Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille Luminy, Marseille, France
                [3 ]IHEM: Scientific Institute of Public Health, Mycology and Aerobiology Section, Brussels, Belgium
                The Research Institute for Children, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: CC ACN SR RP . Performed the experiments: CC ACN ST PF . Analyzed the data: CC ACN SR RP. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PF CP MH. Wrote the paper: CC ACN SR RP.

                Cassagne et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 9
                Research Article
                Computational Biology
                Sequence Analysis
                Fungal Biochemistry
                Plant Science
                Fungal Biochemistry
                Infectious Diseases
                Fungal Diseases



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