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Microb Ecol. 2009 Oct;58(3):538-47. doi: 10.1007/s00248-009-9514-z. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Legionella, protozoa, and biofilms: interactions within complex microbial systems.

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Department of Environmental Health, Flinders University of South Australia, P.O. Box 2100, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia.


Currently, the investigation of Legionella ecology falls into two distinct areas of research activity: (1) that Legionella multiply within water sources by parasitizing amoebic or ciliate hosts or (2) that Legionella grows extracellularly within biofilms. Less focus has been given to the overlaps that may occur between these two areas or the likelihood that Legionella employs multiple survival strategies to persist in water sources. It is likely that Legionella interacts with protozoa, bacteria, algae, fungi, etc., and biofilm components in a more complex fashion than multiplication or death due to the presence or absence of single components of these complex microbial systems. This paper addresses gaps that exist in the understanding of Legionella ecology and serves to pinpoint areas of future research. To assume that only one other class of organism is important to Legionella ecology may limit our understanding of how this bacterium proliferates in heated water sources and also limit our strategies for its control in the built environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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