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Microb Ecol. 2008 Jul;56(1):191-7. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Evidence for the presence of Legionella bacteriophages in environmental water samples.

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  • 1Laboratory for Bacteriology, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Minderbroedersstraat 10, Leuven, Belgium.


The existence and preliminary characterization of bacteriophages active against the Gram-negative human pathogen Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of a very severe form of pneumonia, are reported. Four phages belonging to the family of the Myoviridae were isolated from various fresh water environments, and preliminary characterization showed that these crude preparations infect exclusively bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella. Standard phage amplification, purification, and characterization procedures were, however, not efficiently applicable making more research into these novel phages and their mechanism of infection necessary. The existence of Legionella bacteriophages is very promising for future applications such as the development of novel molecular tools, the design of new detection and typing methods, and the bioremediation of this environmental pathogen.

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