Legionella Pneumophila Associated With the Protozoan Hartmannella Vermiformis in a Model Multi-Species Biofilm Has Reduced Susceptibility to Disinfectants

Biofouling. 2005;21(1):1-7. doi: 10.1080/08927010500044286.


Legionella pneumophila will infect biofilm-associated protozoa, and in this way might be protected from disinfectants in potable water systems. A base biofilm containing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Flavobacterium spp. was grown on steel coupons in potable water prior to the addition of L. pneumophila and the protozoan H. vermiformis. After 7 d, coupons were removed and treated with 0.5 mgl(-1) free residual chlorine (FRC) or 0.5 mgl(-1) monochloramine (MCA) for 15, 60, or 180 min or 24 h. In a second experiment, only L. pneumophila and the base biofilm organisms were present but with an identical treatment protocol. Treatment of L. pneumophila for 180 min in a system without H. vermiformis resulted in log reductions of 2.07 and 2.11 for FRC and MCA, respectively. When H. vermiformis was present, however, the treatment resulted in log reductions of 0.67 and 0.81 for FRC and MCA, respectively. A similar pattern was observed for 15 and 60 min contact times. These results indicate that L. pneumophila was less susceptible to MCA or FRC when associated with biofilm-associated H. vermiformis in a model potable water biofilm.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Bioreactors
  • Chloramines / pharmacology*
  • Chlorine / pharmacology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Ecosystem
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / growth & development
  • Hartmannella / growth & development
  • Hartmannella / microbiology*
  • Legionella pneumophila / drug effects*
  • Legionella pneumophila / growth & development
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Supply


  • Chloramines
  • Disinfectants
  • Chlorine
  • chloramine