Beyond identification: emerging and future uses for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in the clinical microbiology laboratory

Clin Lab Med. 2013 Sep;33(3):611-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cll.2013.03.013.


The routine use of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has revolutionized microorganism identification in the clinical microbiology laboratory. Building from these now common microorganism identification strategies, this review explores future clinical applications of MALDI-TOF MS. This includes practical approaches for laboratorians interested in implementing direct identification processing methods for MALDI-TOF detection of microbes in bloodstream infection (BSI) and urinary tract infection (UTI), as well as, post-analytical approaches for classifying MALDI-TOF spectral data to detect characteristics other and species-level identification (e.g. strain-level classification, typing, and resistance mechanisms).

Keywords: Antimicrobial susceptibility testing; Bacteremia; Bloodstream infection; Direct identification; MALDI-TOF; Machine learning; Mass spectrometry; Urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / trends
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Proteomics / instrumentation
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Proteomics / trends
  • Specimen Handling
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / instrumentation
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / trends*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology