Survival of Legionella pneumophila within cysts of Acanthamoeba polyphaga following chlorine exposure

J Appl Bacteriol. 1990 May;68(5):519-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1990.tb02904.x.


The association between Legionella pneumophila and the free-living amoeba Acanthamoeba polyphaga was studied. Intracellular growth of L. pneumophila within amoebic trophozoite was confirmed by kinetic growth experiments, light and electron microscopy. Cysts produced from infected trophozoites were found to protect the legionellas from at least 50 mg/l free chlorine. The ability of L. pneumophila to survive within the cysts of A. polyphaga is suggested as a possible mechanism by which the organism evades disinfection and spreads to colonize new environments.

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / drug effects
  • Acanthamoeba / physiology*
  • Acanthamoeba / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Chlorine / pharmacology*
  • Disinfection*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Legionella / drug effects
  • Legionella / growth & development*
  • Legionella / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Sterilization*


  • Chlorine