Multiplication of Legionella pneumophila sequence types 1, 47, and 62 in buffered yeast extract broth and biofilms exposed to flowing tap water at temperatures of 38°C to 42°C

Dick van der Kooij, Anke J. Brouwer-Hanzens, Harm R. Veenendaal, Bart A. Wullings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Legionella pneumophila proliferates in freshwater environments at temperatures ranging from 25 to 45°C. To investigate the preference of different sequence types (ST) for a specific temperature range, growth of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 (SG1) ST1 (environmental strains), ST47, and ST62 (disease-associated strains) was measured in buffered yeast extract broth (BYEB) and biofilms grown on plasticized polyvinyl chloride in flowing heated drinking water originating from a groundwater supply. The optimum growth temperatures in BYEB were approximately 37°C (ST1), 39°C (ST47), and 41°C (ST62), with maximum growth temperatures of 42°C (ST1) and 43°C (ST47 and ST62). In the biofilm at 38°C, the ST47 and ST62 strains multiplied equally well compared to growth of the environmental ST1 strain and an indigenous L. pneumophila non-SG1 strain, all attaining a concentration of approximately 107 CFU/cm-2. Raising the temperature to 41°C did not impact these levels within 4 weeks, but the colony counts of all strains tested declined (at a specific decline rate of 0.14 to 0.41 day-1) when the temperature was raised to 42°C. At this temperature, the concentration of Vermamoeba vermiformis in the biofilm, determined with quantitative PCR (qPCR), was about 2 log units lower than the concentration at 38°C. In columns operated at a constant temperature, ranging from 38 to 41°C, none of the tested strains multiplied in the biofilm at 41°C, in which also V. vermiformis was not detected. These observations suggest that strains of ST47 and ST62 did not multiply in the biofilm at a temperature of≥41°C because of the absence of a thermotolerant host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6691-6700
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume82
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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