Microbial Identification Using MALDI-TOF MS (by LabCE)

1 P.A.C.E. contact hour(s)

(based on 492 customer ratings)

Coauthors: Heather MacDonald, M(ASCP), MB(ASCP) and Robert C. Jerris, PhD, D(ABMM)
Reviewer: Judi Bennett, MT, BSM

Course provided by LabCE.

This course will briefly describe the basic principles of MALDI-TOF MS through the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases and update the laboratorian to current applications of this technique.

See more courses in: Microbiology; Molecular Pathology

Included In These Course Packages

Continuing Education Credits

P.A.C.E.® Contact Hours (acceptable for AMT, ASCP, and state recertification): 1 hour(s)
Course number 578-063-20, approved through 7/31/2022
Florida Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel Credit Hours - General (Molecular Pathology): 1 hour(s)
Course number 20-784846, approved through 9/1/2022


  • Define matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS).
  • Name the three major functional components of the MS instrument.
  • Describe two ways to justify purchase/acquisition of a MALDI-TOF MS system.
  • List three key technical methods used in preparing organisms for identification by MALDI-TOF MS.
  • Describe microbial growth requirements (media and incubation parameters) suitable for analysis by MALDI-TOF MS.
  • Identify key processes for post-analytical reporting.
  • Summarize current regulatory requirements when performing MALDI-TOF MS.

Customer Ratings

(based on 492 customer ratings)

Course Outline

  • Pretest Questions
    • Introduction to MALDI-TOF MS
        • Introduction
    • MALDI-TOF MS: Basic Concept
        • Basic Concept
    • Pre-analytical
        • Pre-analytical Considerations
      • Cost Justification
        • Cost Justification
      • Selection of Instrument
        • Instrument Selection
        • Instrument Comparison
        • Instrument Comparison, continued
    • Regulation, Accreditation, and Best Practice
        • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
        • College of American Pathologists (CAP)
        • Verification and Validation of MALDI-TOF MS Performance
    • Analytical
      • Test Performance
        • Template (Target Plate)
      • Growth and Incubation Requirements
        • Media: Solid versus Liquid
        • Selective versus Nonselective Culture Media
        • Incubation Conditions
      • Preparation/Extraction Techniques
        • Specimen Preparation-Direct Spotting
        • On-Plate Extraction Method (Formic Acid Overlay)
        • Full Extraction (In-Tube, ethanol, formic acid method)
      • Matrix
        • Matrix
      • Workflow
        • Key Workflow Factors: LIS and Instrument Interface
        • Key Workflow Factors: Centralized versus Decentralized MALDI-TOF MS Processing
      • Quality Control
        • Quality Control Measures
      • Direct from Blood Culture MALDI-TOF MS
        • Identification from Positive Blood Culture Bottles
    • Post-analytical
        • Post-Analytical Considerations
    • Safety
        • Safety Considerations
    • Summary
        • Summary
    • References
        • References

    Additional Information

    Level of instruction: Beginning
    Author information: Heather MacDonald, M(ASCP), MB(ASCP) has over 10 years of clinical laboratory experience and oversees a Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. She is currently the Advanced Diagnostics Manager for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in Georgia. Along with performing routine diagnostic assays, implementing laboratory-developed qualitative and quantitative molecular assays (both singleplex and multiplex) is her primary focus. Heather has published numerous articles and presents her research at national and international meetings. She has also worked with numerous corporations to bring commercial assays to market.
    Coauthor information: Robert C. Jerris, PhD, D(ABMM) is currently the Medical Director of Clinical Microbiology, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in GA. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Jerris has directed clinical microbiology and molecular diagnostic laboratories for over 30 years. In that time, he has developed and brought to market a number of clinical laboratory systems and assays. He is well published and presents his research at national and international meetings. As current Chair for the American Society of Microbiology's Professional Affairs Committee, Dr. Jerris is committed to the workforce and regulatory oversight for clinical laboratories.
    Reviewer information: Judi Bennett MT, BSM is currently a Program Director for MediaLab, Inc. in Lawrenceville, GA. She has over 30 years of medical laboratory experience in an acute care hospital setting as Laboratory Manager, Senior Clinical Applications Specialist, Point-of-Care Coordinator, Microbiology Supervisor, and generalist technologist. Judi has been a speaker at various conferences and has been published in peer-reviewed publications.
    Course description:  This course will briefly describe the basic principles of MALDI-TOF MS through the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases and update the laboratorian to current applications of this technique. 

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    Course provided by LabCE.
    Reusable target plate

    Time of Flight

    Target Plate Loaded

    MALDI TOF MS Cost justification

    ASCLS CE's design and platform are provided by MediaLab, Inc.