Journal of clinical microbiology

Capillary gas chromatographic analysis of carbohydrates of Legionella pneumophila and other members of the family Legionellaceae.

PMID 6715510


Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires disease, and related organisms have previously been characterized primarily by conventional bacteriological methods, DNA-DNA hybridization, antigenic analysis, and fatty acid analysis. By capillary gas chromatographic analysis for carbohydrates, we have shown that muramic acid and glucosamine, characteristic markers of bacterial cell walls, were present in samples of L. pneumophila and a group of legionella-like organisms. Some bacterial samples contained two unusual isomeric aminodideoxyhexoses (X1 and X2). L. pneumophila was characterized by the absence of fucose and the presence of the peak X1. Tatlockia micdadei (Legionella micdadei) was distinguishable by the presence of large amounts of rhamnose and fucose and by the absence of X1 and X2. Fluoribacter strains were much more variable in their carbohydrate composition. These data suggest that, in addition to other reported techniques, carbohydrate profiling by capillary gas chromatography can be a valuable diagnostic method in reference microbiology laboratories for differentiating members of the family Legionellaceae.

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