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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Microbial Identification Using MALDI-TOF MS. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Instrument Comparison

The differences between Bruker's and bioMérieux's MALDI-TOF MS instruments are discussed in more detail below.

Size (foot print)
When selecting a MALDI-TOF MS for the clinical laboratory, instrumentation size and availability of space need to be considered. The Bruker Microflex Biotyper instrument is smaller than the bioMérieux VITEK® MS. The smaller footprint and design of the Bruker system lends itself to be a tabletop instrument. The VITEK® MS is a standalone instrument and has a larger footprint due to it longer vacuum/flight tube.
Dimensions:
InstrumentSizeWeight
VITEK® MSW 27.5 in/700 mm; D 33.5 in/850 mm; H 75.5 in/1920 mm
727 lbs (330 kg), excluding data system
Biotyper™W 20.1 in/510 mm; D 26.8 in/680 mm; H 43 in/1092 mm
185 lbs (83.9 kg)

Sample throughput
The instrument’s throughput capability also needs to be considered, as this will impact workflow. The VITEK® MS can run four target plates simultaneously: Four plates X 48 wells, totaling 192 samples, versus 96 wells on the Biotyper™ however, the VITEK® MS takes longer to achieve full vacuum, thus taking longer to generate results compared to the Bruker system for the same number of results.
The new Bruker "smart" system (enhanced laser power) allows throughput of a 96 well template in under ten minutes.
Batch versus non-batch modes: Based on different configurations, workflow, and hours of operation, clinical laboratories that evaluate cultures by specimen type may elect to place targets at each bench, so the technologist can identify microorganisms concurrently while plate reading. Other laboratories may use the batch mode approach, where a single technologist is responsible for running all isolates. Further consideration must be given to workflow when laboratory automation and/or when the instrument is interfaced with an antimicrobial susceptibility system.

Consumables: Target plates
The target plates for each instrument also differ. The VITEK® MS relies solely on disposable templates. Bruker offers both a reusable polished steel template as well as disposable targets. It is important to note that although the steel templates must be cleaned after use, they are reusable. The cleaning process uses trifluoroacetic acid and ethanol and it is recommended to be performed under a fume hood. Note: Third party manufacturers are now also offering disposable templates for both systems (µFocus, Hudson Surface Technology, Ft. Lee, NJ).