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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2011 Aug;53(2):217-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2011.03094.x. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Differential growth of Legionella pneumophila strains within a range of amoebae at various temperatures associated with in-premise plumbing.

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1
National Exposure Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA. buse.helen@epa.gov

Abstract

AIMS:

The potential effect of in-premise plumbing temperatures (24, 32, 37 and 41°C) on the growth of five different Legionella pneumophila strains within free-living amoebae (Acanthamoeba polyphaga, Hartmannella vermiformis and Naegleria fowleri) was examined.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Compared with controls that actively fed on Escherichia coli prey, when Leg. pneumophila was used as prey, strains Lp02 and Bloomington-2 increased in growth at 30, 32 and 37°C while strains Philadelphia-1 and Chicago 2 did not grow at any temperature within A. polyphaga. Strains Lp02, Bloomington-2 and Dallas 1E did not proliferate in the presence of H. vermiformis nor did strain Philadelphia-1 in the presence of N. fowleri. Yet, strain Bloomington-2 grew at all temperatures examined within N. fowleri, while strain Lp02 proliferated at all temperatures except 41°C. More intriguing, strain Chicago 2 only grew at 32°C within H. vermiformis and N. fowleri suggesting a limited temperature growth range for this strain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Identifying the presence of pathogenic legionellae may require the use of multiple host amoebae and incubation temperatures.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

Temperature conditions and species of amoeba host supported in drinking water appear to be important for the selection of human-pathogenic legionellae and point to future research required to better understand Legionella ecology.

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