A New Filter Based Cultivation Approach for Improving Aspergillus Identification using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS)

Husam Salah, Anna Kolecka, Anna Rozaliyani, Retno Wahyuningsih, Saad J. Taj-Aldeen, Teun Boekhout, Jos Houbraken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is widely used in clinical laboratories for routine identification of bacteria and yeasts. However, methodological difficulties are still apparent when applied to filamentous fungi. The liquid cultivation method recommended by Bruker Daltonics GmbH for identification of filamentous fungi by MALDI-TOF MS is labour intensive and time-consuming. In this study, growth of Aspergillus species on different (porous) surfaces was investigated with the aim to develop a more reliable, quicker and less laborious identification method using MALDI-TOF MS. Mycelial growth without sporulation mimicking liquid cultivation and reliable MALDI-TOF MS spectra were obtained when A. fumigatus strains were grown on and in between a polycarbonate membrane filter on Sabouraud dextrose agar. A database of in-house reference spectra was created by growing Aspergillus reference strains (mainly focusing on sections Fumigati and Flavi) under these selected conditions. A test set of 50 molecularly identified strains grown under different conditions was used to select the best growth condition for identification and to perform an initial validation of the in-house database. Based on these results, the cultivation method on top of a polycarbonate filter proved to be most successful for species identification. This method was therefore selected for the identification of two sets of clinical isolates that mainly consisted of Aspergilli (100 strains originating from Indonesia, 70 isolates from Qatar). The results showed that this cultivation method is reliable for identification of clinically relevant Aspergillus species, with 67% and 76% correct identification of strains from Indonesia and Qatar, respectively. In conclusion, cultivation of Aspergilli on top of a polycarbonate filter showed improved results compared to the liquid cultivation protocol recommended by Bruker in terms of percentage of correct identification, ease of MSP creation, time consumption, cost and labour intensity. This method can be reliably applied for identification of clinically important Aspergilli and has potential for identification of other filamentous fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalMycopathologia
Volume187
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Bruker
  • Clinical filamentous fungi
  • Identification
  • MALDI-TOF MS
  • Polycarbonate filter

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