At the 22nd ECCMID (European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) in London, Bruker has announced a collaboration with UMCG within the new European Network for the Rapid Identification of Anaerobes (ENRIA), based on Bruker´s MALDI Biotyper system for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based microbial identification.
Anaerobic infections belong to the neglected infectious diseases and are often underestimated in their importance.
However, anaerobic bacteria are important pathogens, composing also the majority of normal, probiotic bacterial flora on the mucosal surfaces and other bacterial ecologic systems in humans, animals and the environment.
Furthermore, anaerobes are key in the growing biofermentor-based renewable energy industry. Knowledge is still lacking on the importance of anaerobes as human pathogens in many infection processes, and their role of being a possible reservoir for virulence and resistance genes.
Therefore, a rapid and correct species identification of anaerobes is an indispensable prerequisite for future microbial diagnostics.
Classic identification of anaerobes has remained cumbersome and difficult to standardize over recent decades. Thus, anaerobic bacteria remain often unidentified in clinical microbiological practice.
The MALDI Biotyper has recently opened the possibility to use MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for the rapid identification of anaerobic bacteria.
In collaboration with the ESCMID Study Group of Anaerobic Infections (ESGAI), UMCG and Bruker, the new European Network for Rapid Identification of Anaerobes (ENRIA) has now been initiated (http://www.escmid.org/research_projects/study_groups/esgai).
It is coordinated by the Dutch expert center for anaerobic bacteria at the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands and the Hungarian Reference Laboratory for Anaerobic Infections at the University of Szeged in Hungary.
Since many years, both expert centers are leading in culture-based and molecular analysis of anaerobes, including oral and gut microbiology.
ENRIA will set up an international and well-characterized anaerobic strain collection comprising of the most important anaerobic species, including parodontogenic bacteria.
Reference spectra of this strain collection will be added to Bruker´s MALDI Biotyper database. ENRIA will offer international workshops for standardization of MALDI-TOF MS usage in the identification of anaerobic bacteria.
Finally, participating laboratories will perform a quality certification for the rapid identification of anaerobic bacteria with excellent quality using classical detection methods and MALDI-TOF MS.
The initiators and ENRIA project lead partners are Prof. Alex W. Friedrich (Chair of Medical Microbiology and Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology of the University of Groningen), Prof. Elisabeth Nagy (Chair of the ESGAI group) and Dr. Wolfgang Pusch (Executive Vice President at Bruker Daltonics).
Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Nagy, Institute of Clinical Microbiology, University of Szeged, Hungary and Chair of the ESGAI commented: "With the ENRIA project I envision the chance of a European-wide revival of rapid identification of anaerobic infections, combined with excellence in detection quality. This builds finally the basis for correct microbiological diagnostics, appropriate clinical management and further basic and applied research in the field of anaerobic infections."
Prof. Dr. Alex Friedrich, Chair of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, University Medical Center Groningen, further stated: "The MALDI Biotyper method of using proteomic fingerprints for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based microbial identification is of special interest for anaerobic bacteria, as they are typically slow growing and inactive in biochemical tests. Moreover, the MALDI Biotyper is using a molecular fingerprint and is not dependent on certain metabolic properties of the respective bacteria. This allows for a much more unambiguous identification of this difficult group of bacteria and opens new perspectives for rapid identification and biotyping. The ENRIA initiative aims towards further building up such identification capabilities by including additional anaerobic isolates from other major European expert laboratories in this field. The UMC Groningen will organize subsequent proficiency tests to establish this approach as the standard for anaerobic bacteria identification."
Dr. Wolfgang Pusch, Executive Vice President, Microbiology Business at Bruker Daltonics concluded: "In the last years the MALDI Biotyper has been widely accepted as the de facto standard for microbial identification. The cooperation with UMCG and the ENRIA project will further establish the system also for anaerobic bacteria in the fields of clinical microbiology, veterinary microbiology as well as for applications in environmental and industrial microbiology."