Evaluation of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for the Identification of Group B Streptococcus

BMC Res Notes. 2019 Feb 14;12(1):85. doi: 10.1186/s13104-019-4119-1.


Objective: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a leading cause of neonatal meningitis and sepsis worldwide. Intrapartum antibiotics given to women carrying GBS are an effective means of reducing disease in the first week of life. Rapid and reliable tests are needed to accurately identify GBS from these women for timely intrapartum antibiotic administration to prevent neonatal disease. Many laboratories now use matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) by direct plating or cell lysis for the identification of GBS isolates. The cell lysis step increases time to results for clinical samples and is more complex to perform. Therefore, we seek to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of the quicker and more rapid direct plating method in identifying GBS.

Results: We directly compared swab isolates analysed by both direct plating and cell lysis method and demonstrated that direct plating has a sensitivity and specificity of 0.97 and 1, respectively, compared to an additional cell lysis step. We demonstrated that MALDI-TOF MS can be successfully used for batch processing by the direct plating method which saves time. These results are reassuring for laboratories worldwide who seek to identify GBS from swabs samples as quickly as possible.

Keywords: Group B Streptococcus; MALDI-TOF MS; Rapid diagnostics; Streptococcus agalactiae.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / standards*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / isolation & purification*