Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a revolutionary technique with multiple applications. Its use in clinical microbiology is now becoming widespread as the method is an easy, rapid, effective, accurate, and cheap way to identify cultured bacteria and fungi. It is, therefore, an ideal tool to replace conventional methods still used in Africa and tropical areas for routine microbiological diagnosis. The recent installation of a MALDI-TOF MS for diagnostic purposes in a hospital in Senegal has confirmed that this tool is not only valuable but also robust in tropical Africa, providing further evidence that this technique should be widely distributed there. However, despite its value for clinical microbiology in Africa, the acquisition and installation of MALDI-TOF MS is subject to several constraints. This review provides general information on aspects of MALDI-TOF MS. The specific aspects and constraints observed in Africa and tropical countries are also addressed with suggestions for appropriate solutions.
Key words: Microorganism, infectious diseases, quick identification, matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight, matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF).
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