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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 Mar;73(5):1452-6. Epub 2006 Dec 28.

Integrated real-time PCR for detection and monitoring of Legionella pneumophila in water systems.

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Centre National de Référence des Légionelles, INSERM E-0230, Faculté de Médecine Laennec, Laboratoire de Bactériologie, 7 rue Guillaume-Paradin, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France.


We evaluated a ready-to-use real-time quantitative Legionella pneumophila PCR assay system by testing 136 hot-water-system samples collected from 55 sites as well as 49 cooling tower samples collected from 20 different sites, in parallel with the standard culture method. The PCR assay was reproducible and suitable for routine quantification of L. pneumophila. An acceptable correlation between PCR and culture results was obtained for sanitary hot-water samples but not for cooling tower samples. We also monitored the same L. pneumophila-contaminated cooling tower for 13 months by analyzing 104 serial samples. The culture and PCR results were extremely variable over time, but the curves were similar. The differences between the PCR and culture results did not change over time and were not affected by regular biocide treatment. This ready-to-use PCR assay for L. pneumophila quantification could permit more timely disinfection of cooling towers.

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