Direct Detection and Discrimination of Carbapenemases of Acinetobacter baumannii from Uncultured Tracheal Aspirates

Microb Drug Resist. 2020 Oct;26(10):1153-1162. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2019.0128. Epub 2020 May 4.


Carbapenemases play important roles in conferring resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, including the carbapenems. Detection of carbapenemase activity helps to understand the possible mechanism(s) of carbapenem resistance. Identification of carbapenemases is currently being done by various phenotypic methods and molecular methods. However, innovative biochemical and spectrophotometric methods are desirable as they will be easy to perform, affordable, and rapid. A novel chromogenic method called Carba NP test was introduced recently to screen for carbapenemases in clinical isolates of gram-negative pathogens. We adopted this assay (1) to detect the total carbapenemase activity, (2) to discriminate Class A, B, and D carbapenemases with inhibitors, (3) to compare with carbapenemase genotype, and (4) for direct differential diagnosis of carbapenemases in uncultured clinical sample such as tracheal aspirate. The study included 132 purulent tracheal aspirates. All samples were processed and screened by a protocol optimized in our laboratory, which showed good sensitivity and correlation with genotyping and conventional phenotyping. Our protocol not only offers the fastest way to identify the pathogen but also its carbapenemase profile, directly from uncultured clinical samples in less than 4 hr. Our protocol is currently being validated on other types of clinical specimens in our laboratory.

Keywords: A. baumannii; Carba NP; carbapenemases; tracheal aspirates.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acinetobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / enzymology*
  • Acinetobacter baumannii / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods*
  • Carbapenems / pharmacology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phenotype
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trachea / microbiology*
  • beta-Lactamases / metabolism*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbapenems
  • beta-Lactamases
  • carbapenemase