Matthew Sorensen, Courtney E. Chandler, Francesca M. Gardner, Salma Ramadan, Prasanna D. Khot, Lisa M. Leung, Christine E. Farrance, David R. Goodlett, Robert K. Ernst & Erik Nilsson. Scientific Reports. 2020 Dec. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78401-3
Rapid infection diagnosis is critical to improving patient treatment and outcome. Recent studies have shown microbial lipids to be sensitive and selective biomarkers for identifying bacterial and fungal species and antimicrobial resistance. Practical procedures for microbial lipid biomarker analysis will therefore improve patient outcomes and antimicrobial stewardship. However, current lipid extraction methods require significant hands-on time and are thus not suited for direct adoption as a clinical assay for microbial identification. Here, we have developed a method for lipid extraction directly on the surface of stainless-steel matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) plates, termed fast lipid analysis technique or FLAT, which facilitates the identification of bacterial and fungal species using a sub-60-minute workflow. Additionally, our method detects lipid A modifications in Gram-negative bacteria that are associated with antimicrobial resistance, including to colistin.