Legionella pneumophila is an aquatic bacterium and is responsible for Legionnaires' disease in humans. Free-living amoebae are parasitized by legionellae and provide the intracellular environment required for the replication of this bacterium. In low-nutrient environments, however, L. pneumophila is able to enter a non-replicative viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state. In this study, L. pneumophila Philadelphia I JR 32 was suspended in sterilized tap water at 104 cells/ml. The decreasing number of bacteria was monitored by CFU measurements, acridine orange direct count (AODC), and hybridization with 16S rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes. After 125 days of incubation in water, the cells were no longer culturable on routine plating media; however, they were still detectable by AODC and by in situ hybridization. The addition of Acanthamoeba castellanii to the dormant bacteria resulted in the resuscitation of L. pneumophila JR 32 to a culturable state. A comparison of plate-grown legionellae and reactivated cells showed that the capacity for intracellular survival in human monocytes and intraperitoneally infected guinea pigs, which is considered a parameter for virulence, was not reduced in the reactivated cells. However, reactivation of dormant legionellae was not observed in the animal model.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Applied and environmental microbiology|
|Publication status||Published - May 1 1997|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology