© 2017 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Human leishmaniases are widespread diseases with different clinical forms caused by about 20 species within the Leishmania genus. Leishmania species identification is relevant for therapeutic management and prognosis, especially for cutaneous and mucocutaneous forms. Several methods are available to identify Leishmania species from culture, but they have not been standardized for the majority of the currently described species, with the exception of multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Moreover, these techniques are expensive, time-consuming, and not available in all laboratories. Within the last decade, mass spectrometry (MS) has been adapted for the identification of microorganisms, including Leishmania. However, no commercial reference mass-spectral database is available. In this study, a reference mass-spectral library (MSL) for Leishmania isolates, accessible through a free Webbased application (mass-spectral identification [MSI]), was constructed and tested. It includes mass-spectral data for 33 different Leishmania species, including species that infect humans, animals, and phlebotomine vectors. Four laboratories on two continents evaluated the performance of MSI using 268 samples, 231 of which were Leishmania strains. All Leishmania strains, but one, were correctly identified at least to the complex level. A risk of species misidentification within the Leishmania donovani, L. guyanensis, and L. braziliensis complexes was observed, as previously reported for other techniques. The tested application was reliable, with identification results being comparable to those obtained with reference methods but with a more favorable cost-efficiency ratio. This free online identification system relies on a scalable database and can be implemented directly in users' computers.
- Identification online