Experimental and Applied Acarology (2021) 84, 637-657

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Steve Ngoy, Adama Zan Diarra, Anne Laudisoit, Guy-Crispin Gembu, Erik Verheyen, Onésime Mubenga, Sylvestre Gambalemoke Mbalitini, Pascal Baelo, Maureen Laroche and Philippe Parola (2021)
Using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to identify ticks collected on domestic and wild animals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Experimental and Applied Acarology 84 (3), 637-657
Abstract: Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has recently emerged as an alternative to morphological and molecular tools to identify tick species. In this study, we set out to evaluate and confirm the ability of MALDI-TOF MS to identify different species of ticks collected in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and preserved in 70% ethanol. A total of 575 ticks, of which 530 were collected from domestic pigs and 45 from wild animals, were subjected to MALDI-TOF MS analysis to evaluate the intraspecies reproducibility and interspecies specificity of MS profiles obtained from the different species. Morphologically, the ticks belonged to seven different species, namely Rhipicephalus complanatus, Rhipicephalus congolensis, Haemaphysalis muhsamae, Ixodes cumulatimpunctatus, Amblyomma exornatum, Amblyomma compressum and an unidentified Rhipicephalus sp. A total of 535/575 (93%) of the spectra obtained were of good enough quality to be used for our analyses. Our home-made MALDI-TOF MS arthropod database was upgraded with spectra obtained from between one and five randomly selected specimens per species. For these reference specimens, molecular identification of the ticks was also made using 16S, 12S rDNA genes and the Cox1 mtDNA gene sequencing. The remaining good quality spectra were then queried against the upgraded MALDI-TOF MS database, showing that 100% were in agreement with the morphological identification, with logarithmic score values (LSVs) between 1.813 and 2.51. The consistency between our morphological, molecular and MALDI-TOF MS identification confirms the capability and precision of MALDI-TOF MS for tick identification.
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Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:

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Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Ixodes cumulatimpunctatus Congo-Democratic Republic
Rhipicephalus congolensis Congo-Democratic Republic
Rhipicephalus complanatus Congo-Democratic Republic
Haemaphysalis muhsamae Congo-Democratic Republic