Rapid and Accurate Identification of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Directly from Positive Primary MGIT Cultures by MALDI-TOF MS

Microorganisms. 2022 Jul 18;10(7):1447. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10071447.


Over the last years, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have emerged as important human pathogens. Accurate and rapid mycobacterial species identification is needed to successfully diagnose, treat, and manage infections caused by NTM. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, MALDI-TOF MS, was demonstrated to effectively identify mycobacteria isolates subcultured from solid or liquid media rather than new positive cultures. The present study aims to develop a new extraction protocol to yield rapid and accurate identification of NTM from primary MGIT cultures by MALDI-TOF MS. A total of 60 positive MGIT broths were examined by the Bruker Biotyper system with Mycobacteria Library v. 2.0 (Bruker Daltonics GmbH & Co. KG., Bremen, Germany). The results were compared with those obtained by the molecular method, line probe assay GenoType Mycobacterium CM/AS/NTM-DR. All samples were concordantly identified by MALDI-TOF MS and the molecular test for all the tested mycobacteria. Fifty-seven (95%) MGIT positive cultures for NTM from clinical samples had a MALDI-TOF MS analysis score S ≥ 1.8. Although a small number of strains and a limited diversity of mycobacterial species were analysed, our results suggest that MALDI-TOF MS could represent a promising routine diagnostic tool for identifying mycobacterial species directly from primary liquid culture.

Keywords: MALDI-TOF MS; nontuberculous mycobacteria; primary liquid culture.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.