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This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in American journal of clinical pathology following peer review.

The version of record [Brown-Elliott, B. A., Fritsche, T. R., Olson, B. J., Vasireddy, S., Vasireddy, R., Iakhiaeva, E., Alame, D., Wallace, R.J., & Branda, J. A. (2019). Comparison of two commercial matrix-assisted laser Desorption/Ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) systems for identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 152(4), 527-536] is available online at:


Objectives: This multi-center study’s aim was to assess the performance of two commercially-available matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) systems in identifying a challenge collection of clinically-relevant nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).

Methods: NTM clinical isolates (N=244) belonging to 23 species/subspecies were identified by gene sequencing and analyzed using the Bruker Biotyper with Mycobacterial Library v5.0.0 and the bioMérieux VITEK MS with v3.0 database.

Results: Using the Bruker or bioMérieux systems, 92% or 95% of NTM strains, respectively, were identified at least to the complex/group level; 62% and 57%, respectively, were identified to the highest taxonomic level. Differentiation between members of the M. abscessus, M. fortuitum, M. mucogenicum, M. avium, and M. terrae complexes/groups was problematic for both systems, as was identification of M. chelonae for the Bruker system.

Conclusions: Both systems identified most NTM isolates to the group/complex level, and many to the highest taxonomic level. Performance was comparable.

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