Isolation and identification of amoeba-resisting bacteria from water in human environment by using an Acanthamoeba polyphaga co-culture procedure


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Amoeba-resisting bacteria (ARB) such as Legionella spp. are currently regarded as potential human pathogens living in the environment. To detect ARB from both human and environmental samples, co-culture with amoebae has been demonstrated as an efficient tool. However, using this procedure, mostly water from cooling towers and hospital water supplies have been investigated as the possible reservoir of ARB. In the present study, we studied ARB population in 77 environmental water samples including rivers, fountains, lakes and domestic wells in the south of France. As a result, a total of 244 isolates corresponding to 89 different species of ARB, but not Legionella spp., were identified. Ability to grow within and/or to be lytic for amoebae was revealed for the first time for several human pathogens. Six isolates are likely to be the members of a new or uncharacterized genus/species. An anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium frigidicarnis was demonstrated to be lytic for amoebae. This preliminary work demonstrates that the water environment in the vicinity of humans is a reservoir of ARB, including well-known pathogens for which amoebae and/or water was not recognized earlier as a possible reservoir.