Bruker Daltonics’ MALDI-TOF MS-based system for identification of microbes, the MALDI Biotyper, combines instrumentation, dedicated software, and a reference database of more than 2,000 microorganism species.
In his conference presentation on the topic, Markus Kostrzewa, Sc.D., director of molecular biology, R&D, reviewed the introduction of the system in clinical microbiology laboratories. The MALDI Biotyper is now routinely being used as a diagnostic tool in many European laboratories because it shortens time to results, reduces costs, and increases accuracy compared to conventional biochemical assays.
Bruker designed the instrument to optimize ease of use by technicians in the biomedical field. “The MALDI Biotyper is probably the first MALDI-TOF platform that can be successfully used by a medical technician after a one-day training course,” Dr. Kostrzewa said.
Results presented by Dr. Kostrzewa showed that in order for a mass spectrometry system to be introduced into a clinical routine it must be robust, simple to use, and deliver superior clinical and diagnostic performance. The provider of the system needs to provide a complete, ready-to-use product, with full support for the clinical laboratory. Most companies that manufacture mass spec systems are accustomed to serving research scientists who are less interested in a turn-key solution and more interested in the absolute best technical specifications, so this required a different approach.
Systems like the MALDI Biotyper have applications beyond microbiology. “The capabilities of the technology to unravel subspecies differences, for epidemiology, virulence and resistance detection, strain verification or other purposes, are not yet fully explored.”
Bruker Daltonics will further develop MALDI-TOF technology to increase its uptake by clinical laboratories. It recently launched a kit to isolate and identify microorganisms from a positive blood culture called the MALDI Sepsityper, and it is working on further applications such as subtyping of strains, virulence detection, and antibiotic susceptibility. Dr. Kostrzewa sees a growing market for such applications, “Overall, mass spectrometry will move further into clinical laboratories. This will be driven by its analytical performance as well as its cost-effectiveness.”