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J Appl Bacteriol. 1996 Oct;81(4):341-7.

Growth, respiration and survival of Legionella pneumophila at high temperatures.

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Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, National Public Health Institute (KTL), Kuopio, Finland. Faanna.


The optimum temperature for multiplication of legionella strains in culture media is around 37 degrees C. The effect of high temperatures on the growth of strains isolated from various environments is poorly known. We studied the growth (cell multiplication, respiration) of clinical and environmental Legionella pneumophila strains in liquid media at intervals of 0.5 degrees C in the temperature range from 41.6 to 51.6 degrees C using a temperature gradient incubator. Cell multiplication and CO2 production decreased markedly with all the strains at temperatures above 44-45 degrees C. CO2 continued to be produced up to 51.6 degrees C even if cell multiplication generally stopped at around 48.4-50.0 degrees C. Thus, legionella retained its metabolic activity beyond the maximum temperature for cell multiplication. The CO2 production per bacterial cell (metabolic quotient, qCO2) increased with increasing temperature up to 45 degrees C, whereafter it decreased, the turning point being almost at the same at which the rate of cell multiplication decreased. The difference in qCO2 between the strains] may reflect their different physiological capacities for tolerating high temperatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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