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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02711

One system for all: Is mass spectrometry a future alternative for conventional antibiotic susceptibility testing?

  • 1BioMérieux (France), France

The two main pillars of clinical microbiological diagnostics are the identification of potentially pathogenic microorganisms from patient samples and the testing for antibiotic susceptibility (AST) to allow efficient treatment with active antimicrobial agents. While routine microbial species identification is increasingly performed with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), routine AST still largely relies on conventional and molecular techniques such as broth microdilution or disk and gradient diffusion tests, PCR and automated variants thereof. However, shortly after the introduction of MALDI-TOF MS based routine identification, first attempts to perform AST on the same instruments were reported. Today, a number of different approaches to perform AST with MALDI-TOF MS and other MS techniques have been proposed, some restricted to particular microbial taxa and resistance mechanisms while others being more generic. Further, while some of the methods are in a stage of proof of principles, others are already commercialized. In this review we discuss the different principal approaches of mass spectrometry based AST and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages compared to conventional and molecular techniques. At present, the possibility that MS will soon become a routine tool for AST seems unlikely – still, the same was true for routine microbial identification a mere 15 years ago.

Keywords: antibiotic susceptibility, diagnosis, clinical microbiology, Mass Spectrometry, MALDI-TOF MS

Received: 16 Aug 2019; Accepted: 08 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Welker and Van Belkum. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Martin Welker, BioMérieux (France), Lyon, France,