Journal of Microbiological Methods vol:68 issue:1 pages:137-144
This study describes the development and evaluation of a specific Legionella pneumophila Taqman duplex real-time PCR (qPCR) for fast and reliable quantification of this human pathogen in suspected man-made water systems. The qPCR assay was 100% specific for all L. pneumophila serogroups 1-15 with a sensitivity of 60 genome units/l and an amplification efficiency of 98%. Amplification inhibitors were detected via an exogenous internal positive control, which was amplified simultaneously with L. pneumophila DNA using its own primer and probe set. Mean recovery rates of the qPCR assay for tap water and cooling circuit water, spiked with a known number L. pneumophila bacteria, were 93.0% and 56.3%, respectively. Additionally, by using the Ultracleantrade mark Soil DNA isolation kit, we were able to remove amplification inhibitors ubiquitously present in cooling water. The practical value of our qPCR assay was evaluated through analysis of 30 water samples from showers, taps, eyewash stations, fire sprinklers and recirculation loops with qPCR and traditional culture. In conclusion, the described L. pneumophila Taqman duplex real-time assay proved to be specific, sensitive and reproducible. This makes it a promising method complementing the current time-consuming culture standard method.