Research Methods Poster Session 2024



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Hospitals have recorded immunocompromised patients to be highly susceptible to hospital acquired infections caused by yeasts and molds. Successfully identifying such pathogens is important for the rapid diagnosis and treatment of these infections, marking the significance of this study. Since 2010, Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has made mold identification more efficient but its usage in clinical laboratories is widely restricted. With an aim to understand this paradox, this meta-narrative review investigates the limited use of MALDI-TOF MS in mold identification, including factors affecting the accuracy and preparation of specimens. PubMed Central Database was accessed through the MD Anderson Research Library for this critical literature review and included articles from 2019 to 2024. Search parameters included keywords ‘MALDI-TOF MS’, ‘mold’, and ‘fungus’ —with ‘nosocomial’ added as an advanced search filter. This review emphasized findings of publications from 2019 and 2020, which both concur the lack of a comprehensive and standardized database for mold species was a major limitation of MALDI-TOF MS. Consequently, such limitations characterize MALDI-TOF MS as a verification tool for primary identification methods like microscopic analysis. This gap reveals potential for expanding the use of MALDI-TOF MS for mold identification by developing a complete database for mold species or implementing rigorous pre-analytical controls and utilizing software databases alongside MALDI-TOF analysis. Future research could investigate software, agencies, and parameters needed to create a universal database for molds or review more publications to determine whether MALDI-TOF MS can and should replace microscopic analysis.


Publication Date



Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment

Why Not Mold? A Meta-Narrative Review of MALDI-TOF MS



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