Legionella adelaidensis 
Legionella anisa 
Legionella beliardensis
Legionella birminghamensis 
Legionella bozemanii
Legionella brunensis
Legionella busanensis

Legionella cherrii 
Legionella cincinnatiensis
Legionella donaldsonii
Legionella drancourtii

Legionella drozanskii 
Legionella dumoffii 

Legionella erythra
Legionella fairfieldensis
Legionella fallonii 
Legionella feeleii 
Legionella geestiana 
Legionella genomospecies 1
Legionella gormanii
Legionella gratiana 
Legionella gresilensis
Legionella hackeliae 
Legionella israelensis 
Legionella jamestowniensis
Legionella jordanis 
Legionella lansingensis
Legionella londiniensis
Legionella longbeachae

Legionella lytica
Legionella maceachernii 
Legionella micdadei 
Legionella moravica 
Legionella nautarum 
Legionella oakridgensis 
Legionella parisiensis
Legionella pneumophila 
Legionella quateirensis
Legionella quinlivanii
Legionella rowbothamii
Legionella rubrilucens
Legionella sainthelensi 
Legionella santicrucis 
Legionella shakespearei
Legionella spiritensis 
Legionella steigerwaltii
Legionella taurinensis
Legionella tucsonensis 
Legionella waltersii
Legionella wadsworthii 
Legionella worsliensis 

The genus Legionella

Forty two species of Legionella have been described and 17 have been associated with disease in man. The type species is L. pneumophila which is the species most commonly detected both in the environment and in patients. Legionella pneumophila is divided into at least 16 serogroups of which serogroup 1 is the most common cause of disease.


All species described so far are straight rods with non parallel sides tapering to rounded ends. The cells are 2-3 µm long by 0.3-0.9 µm wide. Long forms of up to 20 µm or more are relatively common when grown on artificial media. Cells are Gram-negative and motile by one or two or more polar or lateral flagella. Non-motile strains are occasionally seen. 

Biochemical characteristics 

Legionellae are aerobic chemo-organotrophs using amino acids as carbon and energy sources. They require L-cysteine and iron salts for growth on primary isolation. The oxidase test is negative or weakly positive. They are catalase-positive and most strains possess gelatinase. They do not reduce nitrates, are urease-negative and neither ferment nor oxidise carbohydrates. Some species are autofluorescent. Identification to species level is not easy, but it is normally only necessary to differentiate legionellae into the following broad divisions: L. pneumophila serogroup 1, L. pneumophila serogroups 2-14 and Legionella species other than L. pneumophila. This identification can be performed relatively easily using phenotypic tests and serological methods. Further accurate differentiation is outside the scope of routine laboratories.


A bacterium from the Legionella family, not previously associated with human disease, has been identified as the cause of pneumonia in a woman at the Hopital Paul Brousse in Villejuif, France, This case is reported in the July 1997 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 

The researchers report on a 34-year-old woman who, 4 weeks after a liver transplant, developed severe pneumonia. She suffered neurological deterioration and eventually went into a coma. After several weeks of various antibiotic treatments and a second liver transplant, she recovered. 

The cause of her pneumonia was found to be the bacterium Legionella parisiensis. This bacterium was first identified in a cooling tower in Paris in 1985 and since then no further isolations of this organism have been reported until this case. The family Legionellaceae comprises 38 species among which 18 have been isolated from patients with pneumonia. The most well known species is Legionella pneumophila, the cause of Legionnaire's disease, which accounts for nearly 90% of Legionella infections. 

(F.Lo Presti, S. Riffard, F. Vandenesch, M. Reyrolle, E. Ronco, P. Ichai, and
J. Etienne. 1997.) 
Centre National de Reference des Legionella in Lyon, France
The first clinical isolate of Legionella parisiensis from a liver transplant patient with pneumonia. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 35:1706-1709.)

QUADNET, JULY 4, 1997 
TIPSHEET Highlights from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology


Scientists at the Fairfield Hospital in Australia and the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh report what they believe to be the second case ever of illness caused by a recently discovered bacterium. The study appears in the July 1997 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. The report describes the case of 75-year-old Australian man who came to the hospital after 3 days of fever, chills, sweats, lethargy and anorexia. An initial treatment with antibiotics did not improve his condition, but after changing the antibiotics his condition improved and he recovered. Laboratory tests indicated that the organism that caused his fever was a recently described bacterium known as Desulfovibrio fairfieldensis. Desulfovibrio bacteria are commonly found in nature and can be isolated from most water and soil types.
They are anaerobic, meaning they can only grow in the absence of oxygen. Only five cases of human infection by Desulfovibrio have ever been described and this case represents only the second by this species. "Laboratories need to be aware of the anaerobic, motile, vibrioid-like organisms, in particular Desulfovibrio species, as rare causes of human disease," say the researchers. (R. McDougall, J. Robson, D. Paterson, and W. Tee. 1997. Bacteremia caused by a recently described novel Desulfovibrio species. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 35:1805-1808.)

International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, Vol 49, 397-403,
Society for General Microbiology 


Legionella taurinensis sp. nov., a new species antigenically similar to Legionella spiritensis

F Lo Presti, S Riffard, H Meugnier, M Reyrolle, Y Lasne, PAD Grimont, F Grimont, F Vandenesch, J Etienne, J Fleurette and J Freney Centre National de Reference des Legionella UPRES EA1655, Faculte de Medecine R.T.H. Laennec, 69372 Lyon cedex 08, France 

A group of 42 Legionella-like organisms reacting specifically with Legionella spiritensis serogroup 1 antisera were collected throughout Europe by the Centre National de Reference (French National Reference Centre) for Legionella. This group of isolates differed somewhat from L. spiritensis in terms of biochemical reactions, ubiquinone content and protein profile. The latter two analyses revealed that one of these L. spiritensis-like isolates, Turin I no. 1(T), was highly related, but not identical to any of the red autofluorescent species of Legionella. In fact, this strain was the first of these particular isolates recognized to emit a red autofluorescence when exposed to UV light. Profile analysis of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA established that the red autofluorescent L. spiritensis-like isolates constituted a homogeneous group distinct from Legionella rubrilucens and Legionella erythra. DNA--DNA hybridization studies involving the use of S1 nuclease confirmed that the indicated group of isolates are a new species of Legionella, for which the name Legionella taurinensis is proposed with strain Turin I no. 1(T) (deposited as ATCC 700508(T)) as the type strain. 


A special thank you to Francois Lo Presti from the
Centre National de Reference des Legionella in Lyon, Francefor his assistance in completing this list of species

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2001 May;51(Pt 3):1151-60

Legionella drozanskii sp. nov., Legionella rowbothamii sp. nov. and Legionella fallonii sp. nov.: three unusual new Legionella species.

Adeleke AA, Fields BS, Benson RF, Daneshvar MI, Pruckler JM, Ratcliff RM, Harrison TG, Weyant RS, Birtles RJ, Raoult D, Halablab MA.

Division of Life Sciences, King's College London, UK.

Seven strains of Legionella-like amoebal pathogens (LLAPs) were characterized on the basis of their cultural and staining characteristics, biochemical reactions, serology, cellular fatty acids (CFAs), isoprenoid quinone composition, total DNA relatedness, analysis of 16S rRNA and macrophage infectivity potentiator (mip) gene sequence analyses. All seven strains exhibited limited growth on buffered charcoal yeast extract alpha (BCYE) agar, required cysteine for growth and contained branched-chain CFAs and quinones typical of Legionella species. The bacilli were Gram-negative and catalase-positive. There were varying degrees of serological cross-reactions between these LLAP strains and other previously described Legionella species. Results from the various tests revealed that four LLAP strains represent three unusual new species of Legionella: Legionella drozanskii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-1T; Legionella rowbothamii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-6T; and Legionella fallonii sp. nov., type strain LLAP-10T. Three other LLAP strains, designated LLAP-7FL, LLAP-7NF and LLAP-9, were shown to be members of the species Legionella lytica. The deductions made from the phenetic characteristics of these bacteria were consistent with the phylogenetic relationships inferred from 16S rRNA and mip gene sequence analyses. This study is the first to speciate LLAP strains on the basis of data including quantitative DNA hybridization.

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 2001 Nov;51(Pt 6):1949-57

Legionella gresilensis sp. nov. and Legionella beliardensis sp. nov., isolated                       from water in France.

 Lo Presti F, Riffard S, Meugnier H, Reyrolle M, Lasne Y, Grimont PA, Grimont F,       Benson RF, Brenner DJ, Steigerwalt AG, Etienne J, Freney J.

Centre National de Reference des Legionella UPRES EA1655, Faculte de Medecine RTH   Laennec, Lyon, France.

Novel Legionella-like isolates, strains Montbeliard A1T and Greoux 11 D13T, isolated from two different French water sources, were studied taxonomically and phylogenetically. Morphological and biochemical characterization revealed that they were Gram-negative, aerobic,  non-spore-forming bacilli with a cut-glass appearance that grew only on L-cysteine-supplemented buffered charcoal yeast extract agar.

Phenotypic characterization using fatty acid and ubiquinone profiles and SDS-PAGE analysis confirmed that they were closely related, but distinct from, other species of the genus Legionella, since serotyping could not relate them to any existing serogroup. Genotypic profiles generated by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA and 16S-23S rDNA spacer region PCR analyses were unique for each of these isolates.DNA-DNA relatedness values of strains Montbeliard A1T and Greoux 11 D13T to each other and to other Legionella type strains were less than 25%. Phylogenetic affiliation of these organisms obtained by 16S rDNA sequence comparisons confirmed that they were distinct from any other known Legionella species.

All the above results confirm that these strains constitute two novel species for which the names Legionella gresilensis sp. nov. (type strain Greoux 11 D13T = ATCC 700509T = CIP 106631T) and Legionella beliardensis sp. nov. (type strain Montbeliard A1T = ATCC 700512T = CIP 106632T) are proposed.


Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 53 (2003), 77-80; DOI  10.1099/ijs.0.02268-0

Legionella busanensis
sp. nov., isolated from cooling tower water in Korea

Mi-Yeoun Park1, Kwan Soo Ko2, Hae Kyung Lee1, Man-Suk Park1 and Yoon-Hoh Kook2

Three Legionella-like micro-organisms, isolated from cooling tower water of a building in Busan, Korea, were characterized by a variety of biochemical and molecular phylogenetic tests.

Analyses of whole-cell fatty acids and results of biochemical tests revealed that these three isolates are distinct from previously described Legionella species. Furthermore, results of comparative analyses of 16S rDNA (14761488 bp), mip (408 bp) and rpoB (300 bp) sequences also confirmed that these strains represent a novel species within the genus Legionella.

The 16S rDNA sequences of the three Korean isolates had similarities of less than 958 % to other Legionella species. Phylogenetic trees formed by analysis of the 16S rRNA, rpoB and mip genes revealed that the isolates formed a distinct cluster within the genus Legionella. Based on the evaluated phenotypic and phylogenetic characteristics, it is proposed that these Korean isolates from water be classified as a novel species, Legionella busanensis sp. nov.; the type strain is strain K9951T (=KCTC 12084T =ATCC BAA-518T).

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 54 (2004), 699-703; DOI  10.1099/ijs.0.02455-0

Legionella drancourtii sp. nov., a strictly intracellular amoebal pathogen

Bernard La Scola1, Richard J. Birtles2, Gilbert Greub1, Timothy J. Harrison3, Rodney M. Ratcliff4 and Didier Raoult1

Legionella-like amoebal pathogen (LLAP), formerly named LLAP12T, was characterized on the basis of microscopic appearance, staining characteristics, growth in Acanthamoeba polyphaga at different temperatures, DNA G+C content, serological cross-reactivity and 16S rRNA and macrophage infectivity potentiator (mip) gene sequence analysis. LLAP12T was found to be a motile, Gram-negative bacterium that grew within cytoplasmic vacuoles in infected amoebae. The infecting bacteria induced lysis of their amoebal hosts and time taken to do so was dependent on incubation temperature. Recovery of LLAP12T from amoebae onto axenic media could not be achieved. Phylogenetic analysis of LLAP12T, based on 16S rRNA and mip gene sequence analysis, indicated that it lay within the radiation of the Legionellaceae and that it clustered specifically with Legionella lytica and Legionella rowbothamii. The divergence observed between LLAP12T and these two species was of a degree equal to, or greater than, that observed between other members of the family. In support of this delineation, LLAP12T was found not to cross-react serologically with any other Legionella species. The mip and 16S rRNA gene sequence-based analyses also indicated that LLAP12T was related very closely to two other previously identified LLAP isolates, LLAP4 and LLAP11. Taken together, these results support the proposal of LLAP12T as the type strain of Legionella drancourtii sp. nov.

Webmaster  Denis Green

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