Legionella is a pathogenic bacterium, ubiquitous in freshwater environments and able to colonise man-made water systems from which it can be transmitted to humans during outbreaks. The prevention of such outbreaks requires a fast, low cost, automated and often portable detection system. In this work, we present a combination of sample concentration, immunoassay detection, and measurement by chronoamperometry. A nitrocellulose microfiltration membrane is used as support for both the water sample concentration and the Legionella immunodetection. The horseradish peroxidase enzymatic label of the antibodies permits using the redox substrate 3,3',5,5'-Tetramethylbenzidine to generate current changes proportional to the bacterial concentration present in drinking water. Carbon screen-printed electrodes are employed in the chronoamperometric measurements. Our system reduces the detection time: from the 10 days required by the conventional culture-based methods, to 2-3 h, which could be crucial to avoid outbreaks. Additionally, the system shows a linear response (R2 value of 0.99), being able to detect a range of Legionella concentrations between 101 and 104 cfu·mL-1 with a detection limit (LoD) of 4 cfu·mL-1.
Keywords: Legionella pneumophilla; amperometry; immunodetection; preconcentration.