Application of the Whole Genome-Based Bacterial Identification System, TrueBac ID, Using Clinical Isolates That Were Not Identified With Three Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) Systems

Ann Lab Med. 2019 Nov;39(6):530-536. doi: 10.3343/alm.2019.39.6.530.


Background: Next-generation sequencing is increasingly used for taxonomic identification of pathogenic bacterial isolates. We evaluated the performance of a newly introduced whole genome-based bacterial identification system, TrueBac ID (ChunLab Inc., Seoul, Korea), using clinical isolates that were not identified by three matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) systems and 16S rRNA gene sequencing.

Methods: Thirty-six bacterial isolates were selected from a university-affiliated hospital and a commercial clinical laboratory. Species was identified by three MALDI-TOF MS systems: Bruker Biotyper MS (Bruker Daltonics, Billerica, MA, USA), VITEK MS (bioMérieux, Marcy l'Étoile, France), and ASTA MicroIDSys (ASTA Inc., Suwon, Korea). Whole genome sequencing was conducted using the Illumina MiSeq system (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA), and genome-based identification was performed using the TrueBac ID cloud system (

Results: TrueBac ID assigned 94% (34/36) of the isolates to known (N=25) or novel (N=4) species, genomospecies (N=3), or species group (N=2). The remaining two were identified at the genus level.

Conclusions: TrueBac ID successfully identified the majority of isolates that MALDI-TOF MS failed to identify. Genome-based identification can be a useful tool in clinical laboratories, with its superior accuracy and database-driven operations.

Keywords: Genome-based identification; Next generation sequencing; Performance; TrueBac ID.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic