Identification and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of Nocardia species clinically isolated in Japan

Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 18;11(1):16742. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95870-2.


The aims of the present study were to profile the antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of a diverse range of Nocardia species isolated in Japan, and to determine the ability of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for species/complex identification. Identification of 153 clinical isolates was performed by full-length 16S rRNA gene sequencing as a reference method to evaluate the usefulness of MALDI-TOF MS identification. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) for 14 antibiotics was performed using the broth microdilution method against 146 of the isolates. Among the total 153 clinical isolates, Nocardia farcinica complex (25%) was the most common species, followed by Nocardia cyriacigeorgica (18%), Nocardia brasiliensis (9%), Nocardia nova (8%), and Nocardia otitidiscaviarum (7%). Among 150 isolates identified to the species/complex level by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, MALDI-TOF MS with the use of a supplemental Nocardia library (JMLD library ver.ML01) correctly identified 97.3% (n = 146) to the species/complex level and 1.3% (n = 2) to the genus level. Among the 146 Nocardia isolates that underwent AST, the susceptibilities were 100% to linezolid, 96% to amikacin, 94% to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and 76% to imipenem. None of the trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole-resistant isolates carried either plasmid-mediated sulfonamide-resistant genes (sul1, sul2) or trimethoprim-resistant genes (dfrA).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Genes, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Nocardia* / genetics
  • Nocardia* / isolation & purification
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S