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Curr Microbiol. 2008 Oct;57(4):294-300. doi: 10.1007/s00284-008-9192-y. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Occurrence and diversity of Legionellaceae in polar lakes of the Antarctic peninsula.

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Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biomedical Science, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Legionellaceae is a family of gram-negative, mesophilic, and facultative intracellular parasitic bacteria that inhabits freshwater environments. In this article, the Legionella population of water samples from the North and South Lake, located close to the Brazilian Scientific Station on King George Island, Keller Peninsula, Antarctica has been characterized. Culture onto selective medium and a independent-culture method were applied to the samples. In our attempt to isolate Legionella species from Antarctic lakes, we were able to obtain one L. pneumophila colony by an amoebic coculture procedure followed by plate culture onto a selective medium. In addition, results obtained from phylogenetic inference showed the presence of noncharacterized specimens of Legionella spp. These findings indicated the presence of legionellae in Antarctica and suggest that these bacteria can adapt to extreme conditions and open new possibilities for understanding the survival strategies of mesophilic Legionellaceae living in Antarctic environments. Furthermore, the isolation of these symbiotic bacteria in Antarctic lakes will allow future studies on cold-resistant mechanisms of legionellae in polar environments.

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