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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 211; doi:10.3390/ijerph13020211

Cultural and Molecular Evidence of Legionella spp. Colonization in Dental Unit Waterlines: Which Is the Best Method for Risk Assessment?

Department of Public Health and Paediatrics, University of Turin, P.zza Polonia 94, Turin 10126, Italy
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Received: 24 December 2015 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
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Abstract

Legionella spp. are ubiquitous in aquatic habitats and water distribution systems, including dental unit waterlines (DUWLs). The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of Legionella in DUWLs and tap water samples using PMA-qPCR and standard culture methods. The total viable counts (TVCs) of aerobic heterotrophic bacteria in the samples were also determined. Legionella spp. were detected and quantified using the modified ISO 11731 culture method. Extracted genomic DNA was analysed using the iQ-Check Quanti Legionella spp. kit, and the TVCs were determined according to the ISO protocol 6222. Legionella spp. were detected in 100% of the samples using the PMA-qPCR method, whereas these bacteria were detected in only 7% of the samples using the culture method. The number of colony forming units (CFUs) of the TVCs in the DUWL and tap water samples differed, with the bacterial load being significantly lower in the tap water samples (p-value = 0). The counts obtained were within the Italian standard range established for potable water in only 5% of the DUWL water samples and in 77% of the tap water samples. Our results show that the level of Legionella spp. contamination determined using the culture method does not reflect the true scale of the problem, and consequently we recommend testing for the presence of aerobic heterotrophic bacteria based on the assumption that Legionella spp. are components of biofilms. View Full-Text
Keywords: Legionella spp.; quantitative real-time PCR; enumeration; dentistry setting; total viable count Legionella spp.; quantitative real-time PCR; enumeration; dentistry setting; total viable count
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ditommaso, S.; Giacomuzzi, M.; Ricciardi, E.; Zotti, C.M. Cultural and Molecular Evidence of Legionella spp. Colonization in Dental Unit Waterlines: Which Is the Best Method for Risk Assessment? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 211.

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