As a result of variable expression of biochemical characters, misidentification by conventional phenotypic means often occurs with clinical isolates belonging to Staphylococcus species. Therefore, we evaluated the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for the identification of 450 blood isolates of the most relevant staphylococcal species, using sequence analysis of the rpoB gene as the reference method. A correct species identification by MALDI-TOF was obtained in 99.3% (447/450), with only three isolates being misidentified. In addition, MALDI-TOF correctly identified all the staphylococcal subspecies studied, including Staphylococcus capitis subsp. capitis and subsp. urealyticus, Staphylococcus cohnii subsp. urealyticus, Staphylococcus hominis subsp. novobiosepticus and subsp. hominis, Staphylococcus saprophyticus subsp. saprophyticus, Staphylococcus schleiferi subsp. schleiferi and Staphylococcus sciuri subsp. sciuri. Thus, MALDI-TOF MS-based species identification of staphylococci can be routinely achieved without any substantial costs for consumables or the time needed for labour-intensive DNA sequence analysis.
- STAPHYLOCOCCAL ISOLATES
- matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry i