Detection of Legionella pneumophila in biofilms containing a complex microbial consortium by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of genus-specific hydroxy fatty acids

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1993 Oct 15;113(2):139-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1993.tb06504.x.


A gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric method was used to detect Legionella pneumophila in biofilms in potable water containing a complex microbial consortium. The unique 3-hydroxy and 2,3-dihydroxy fatty acids of the L. pneumophila lipopolysaccharides (LPS) were detected in both the planktonic phase of the continuous culture model and in the biofilms forming on both copper and polyethylene substrata. The technique confirmed that lower numbers of Legionella colonised and grew on copper in comparison to polyethylene and offers promise for routine detection of Legionella in biofilms in the environment.

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Hydroxylation
  • Legionella pneumophila / chemistry
  • Legionella pneumophila / isolation & purification*
  • Water Microbiology


  • Fatty Acids