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Water Res. 2011 Oct 15;45(16):5171-83. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2011.07.019. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Comparison of potentially pathogenic free-living amoeba hosts by Legionella spp. in substrate-associated biofilms and floating biofilms from spring environments.

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Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, National Chung Cheng University, 168 University Road, Minhsiung Township, Chiayi County 62102, Taiwan, ROC.


This study compares five genera of free-living amoebae (FLA) hosts by Legionella spp. in the fixed and floating biofilm samples from spring environments. Detection rate of Legionella spp. was 26.9% for the floating biofilms and 3.1% for the fixed biofilms. Acanthamoeba spp., Hartmanella vermiformis, and Naegleria spp. were more frequently detected in floating biofilm than in fixed biofilm samples. The percentage of pathogenic Acanthamoeba spp. among all the genus Acanthamoeba detected positive samples was 19.6%. The potential pathogenic Naegleria spp. (for example, Naegleria australiensis, Naegleria philippinensis, and Naegleria italica) was 54.2% to all the Naegleria detected positive samples. In the study, 12 serotypes of possible pneumonia causing Legionella spp. were detected, and their percentage in all the Legionella containing samples was 42.4%. The FLA parasitized by Legionella included unnamed Acanthamoeba genotype, Acanthamoeba griffini, Acanthamoeba jacobsi, H. vermiformis, and N. australiensis. Significant differences were also observed between the presence/absence of H. vermiformis and Legionella parasitism in FLA. Comparisons between the culture-confirmed method and the PCR-based detection method for detecting FLA and Legionella in biofilms showed great variation. Therefore, using these analysis methods together to detect FLA and Legionella is recommended.

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