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Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation–time of flight mass spectrometry for rapid identification of Laribacter hongkongensis
  1. Bone S F Tang1,
  2. Susanna K P Lau2,3,4,5,
  3. Jade L L Teng2,
  4. Tsz-Ming Chan1,
  5. Wai-Sing Chan1,
  6. Ting-Yin Wong1,
  7. Yu-Ting Tong1,
  8. Rachel Y Y Fan2,
  9. Kwok-Yung Yuen2,3,4,5,
  10. Patrick C Y Woo2,3,4,5
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, Hong Kong, China
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  3. 3State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  4. 4Research Centre of Infection and Immunology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  5. 5Carol Yu Centre for Infection, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patrick Woo, Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, University Pathology Building, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China; pcywoo{at}


Laribacter hongkongensis is a Gram-negative, facultative anaerobic, motile, S-shaped, urease-positive bacillus associated with invasive infections in liver cirrhosis patients and community-acquired gastroenteritis. Most cases of L hongkongensis infections occur in eastern countries. Information is lacking on the usefulness of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI–TOF MS) for the identification of bacteria important in eastern countries. Using the Bruker database extended with 21 L hongkongensis reference strains, all 240 L hongkongensis isolates recovered from patients, fish, frogs and water were correctly identified, with 224 (93.3%) strains having top match scores ≥2.0. Notably, the strain of Chromobacterium violaceum was not reliably identified although it is included in the database. MALDI–TOF MS is useful for the accurate routine identification of L hongkongensis after adding reference L hongkongensis main spectra to the database. The number of strains for each species in MALDI–TOF MS databases should be expanded to cover intraspecies variability.


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