MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is acknowledged as a powerful method to identify yeasts and filamentous fungi. A mass spectrum of the unknown strain is first acquired from a protein extract and is subsequently compared to spectra of a database for identification. A robust identification requires a large and diversified database.

In collaboration with Prof. R. Piarroux (Sorbonne University, AP-HP, Paris), BCCM/IHEM developed what is to date the world’s largest database of MALDI-TOF MS spectra for fungi. It comprises the spectra of more than 2000 strains, representing about 900 species and 250 genera of yeasts and moulds. MALDI-TOF MS identification offers a cheaper and faster alternative to DNA sequencing although it remains more limited in its identification capacity and accuracy than the latter method. Consequently, identification to species level cannot always be guaranteed.

The cost (see price list) of the MALDI-TOF MS identification includes protein extraction and MALDI-TOF MS analysis.