Utility of conventional culture and MALDI-TOF MS for identification of microbial communities in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid in comparison with the GS Junior next generation sequencing system

Ji Yeon Sung, Younjee Hwang, Mi Hwa Shin, Moo Suk Park, Sang Hoon Lee, Dongeun Yong, Kyungwon Lee

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diverse microbiota exist in the lower respiratory tract. Although next generation sequencing (NGS) is the most widely used microbiome analysis technique, it is difficult to implement NGS in clinical microbiology laboratories. Therefore, we evaluated the performance of conventional culture methods together with matrix-Assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in identifying microbiota in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Methods: BAL fluid samples (n=27) were obtained from patients undergoing diagnostic bronchoscopy for lung mass evaluation. Bacterial and fungal culture was performed with conventional media used in clinical microbiology laboratories. On an average, 20 isolated colonies were picked from each agar plate and identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Microbiome analysis using 16S rRNA NGS was conducted for comparison. Results: Streptococcus spp. and Neisseria spp. were most frequently cultured from the BAL fluid samples. In two samples, Enterobacteriaceae grew predominantly on MacConkey agar. Actinomyces and Veillonella spp. were commonly identified anaerobes; gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Clostridium, and fungi were also isolated. NGS revealed more diverse bacterial communities than culture, and Prevotella spp. were mainly identified solely by NGS. Some bacteria, such as Staphylococcus spp., Clostridium spp., and Bifidobacterium spp., were identified solely by culture, indicating that culture may be more sensitive for detecting certain bacteria. Conclusions: Culture and NGS of BAL fluid samples revealed common bacteria with some different microbial communities. Despite some limitations, culture combined with MALDI-TOF MS might play a complementary role in microbiome analysis using 16S rRNA NGS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of laboratory medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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