The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

The ongoing revolution of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for microbiology reaches tropical Africa.

PMID 25601995


Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) represents a revolution in routine pathogen identification in clinical microbiology laboratories. A MALDI-TOF MS was introduced to tropical Africa in the clinical microbiology laboratory of the Hôpital Principal de Dakar (Senegal) and used for routine pathogen identification. Using MS, 2,429 bacteria and fungi isolated from patients were directly assayed, leading to the identification of 2,082 bacteria (85.7%) and 206 fungi (8.5%) at the species level, 109 bacteria (4.5%) at the genus level, and 16 bacteria (0.75%) at the family level. Sixteen isolates remained unidentified (0.75%). Escherichia coli was the most prevalent species (25.8%) followed by Klebsiella pneumoniae (14.8%), Streptococcus agalactiae (6.2%), Acinetobacter baumannii (6.1%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (5.9%), and Staphylococcus aureus (5.9%). MALDI-TOF MS has also enabled the detection of rare bacteria and fungi. MALDI-TOF MS is a powerful tool for the identification of bacterial and fungal species involved in infectious diseases in tropical Africa.