[Scientific Reports] Rapid on-site monitoring of Legionella pneumophila in cooling tower water using
Legionnaires’ disease, predominantly caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, has increased in prevalence worldwide. The most common mode of transmission of Legionella is inhalation of contaminated aerosols, such as those generated by cooling towers. Simple, rapid and accurate methods to enumerate L. pneumophila are required to prevent the spread of this organism. Here, we applied a microfluidic device for on-chip fluorescent staining and semi-automated counting of L. pneumophila in cooling tower water. We also constructed a portable system for rapid on-site monitoring and used it to enumerate target bacterial cells rapidly flowing in the microchannel. A fluorescently-labelled polyclonal antibody was used for the selective detection of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 in the samples. The counts of L. pneumophila in cooling tower water obtained using the system and fluorescence microscopy were similar. The detection limit of the system was 104 cells/ml, but lower numbers of L. pneumophila cells (101 to 103 cells/ml) could be detected following concentration of 0.5–3 L of the water sample by filtration. Our technique is rapid to perform (1.5 h), semi-automated (on-chip staining and counting), and portable for on-site measurement, and it may therefore be effective in the initial screening of Legionella contamination in freshwater.
Nobuyasu Yamaguchi, Yusuke Tokunaga, Satoko Goto, Yudai Fujii, Fumiya Banno & Akiko Edagawa Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 3092 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03293-9