The integration of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in clinical microbiology has revolutionized species identification of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. However, beyond straightforward identification, the method has also been suggested to have the potential for subspecies-level or even type-level epidemiological analyses. This minireview explores MALDI-TOF MS-based typing, which has already been performed on many clinically relevant species. We discuss the limits of the method's resolution and we suggest interpretative criteria allowing valid comparison of strain-specific data. We conclude that guidelines for MALDI-TOF MS-based typing can be developed along the same lines as those used for the interpretation of data from pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)