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Curr Microbiol. 2008 Dec;57(6):532-6. doi: 10.1007/s00284-008-9237-2. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Effect of bacterial interference on biofilm development by Legionella pneumophila.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Science, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 287, Modena 41100, Italy.


In the ecology of Legionella pneumophila a crucial role may be played by its relationship with the natural flora; thus we investigated the interactions between Legionella and other aquatic bacteria, particularly within biofilms. Among 80 aquatic bacteria screened for the production of bacteriocin-like substances (BLSs), 66.2% of them were active against L. pneumophila. The possible effect of some of these aquatic bacteria on the development and stability of L. pneumophila biofilms was studied. Pseudomonas fluorescens, the best BLS producer, showed the greatest negative effect on biofilm formation and strongly enhanced the detachment of Legionella. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Pseudomonas putida, Aeromonas hydrophila, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, although producing BLSs at different levels, were less active in the biofilm experiments. Acinetobacter lwoffii did not produce any antagonistic compound and was the only one able to strongly enhance L. pneumophila biofilm. Our results highlight that BLS production may contribute to determining the fate of L. pneumophila within ecological niches. The interactions observed in this study are important features of L. pneumophila ecology, which knowledge may lead to more effective measures to control the persistence of the germ in the environment.

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