Rapid identification of microbial pathogens reduces infection-related morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients. Raman spectra and Fourier transform infrared (IR) spectra constitute highly specific spectroscopic fingerprints of microorganisms by which they can be identified. Little biomass is required, so that spectra of microcolonies can be obtained. A prospective clinical study was carried out in which the causative pathogens of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients were identified. Reference libraries of Raman and IR spectra of bacterial and yeast pathogens highly prevalent in bloodstream infections were created. They were used to develop identification models based on linear discriminant analysis and artificial neural networks. These models were tested by carrying out vibrational spectroscopic identification in parallel with routine diagnostic phenotypic identification. Whereas routine identification has a typical turnaround time of 1 to 2 days, Raman and IR spectra of microcolonies were collected 6 to 8 h after microbial growth was detected by an automated blood culture system. One hundred fifteen samples were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy, of which 109 contained bacteria and 6 contained yeasts. One hundred twenty-one samples were analyzed by IR spectroscopy. Of these, 114 yielded bacteria and 7 were positive for yeasts. High identification accuracy was achieved in both the Raman (92.2%, 106 of 115) and IR (98.3%, 119 of 121) studies. Vibrational spectroscopic techniques enable simple, rapid, and accurate microbial identification. These advantages can be easily transferred to other applications in diagnostic microbiology, e.g., to accelerate identification of fastidious microorganisms.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Maquelin, K., Kirschner, C., Choo-Smith, L. P., Ngo-Thi, N. A., van Vreeswijk, T., Stammler, M., … Puppels, G. (2003). Prospective study of the performance of vibrational spectroscopies for rapid identification of bacterial and fungal pathogens recovered from blood cultures. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/10046