Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 9, pp 2203–2213 | Cite as

Rapid quantification method for Legionella pneumophila in surface water

  • Anika Wunderlich
  • Carmen Torggler
  • Dennis Elsässer
  • Christian Lück
  • Reinhard Niessner
  • Michael SeidelEmail author
Paper in Forefront


World-wide legionellosis outbreaks caused by evaporative cooling systems have shown that there is a need for rapid screening methods for Legionella pneumophila in water. Antibody-based methods for the quantification of L. pneumophila are rapid, non-laborious, and relatively cheap but not sensitive enough for establishment as a screening method for surface and drinking water. Therefore, preconcentration methods have to be applied in advance to reach the needed sensitivity. In a basic test, monolithic adsorption filtration (MAF) was used as primary preconcentration method that adsorbs L. pneumophila with high efficiency. Ten-liter water samples were concentrated in 10 min and further reduced to 1 mL by centrifugal ultrafiltration (CeUF). The quantification of L. pneumophila strains belonging to the monoclonal subtype Bellingham was performed via flow-based chemiluminescence sandwich microarray immunoassays (CL-SMIA) in 36 min. The whole analysis process takes 90 min. A polyclonal antibody (pAb) against L. pneumophila serogroup 1–12 and a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against L. pneumophila SG 1 strain Bellingham were immobilized on a microarray chip. Without preconcentration, the detection limit was 4.0 × 103 and 2.8 × 103 CFU/mL determined by pAb and mAb 10/6, respectively. For samples processed by MAF-CeUF prior to SMIA detection, the limit of detection (LOD) could be decreased to 8.7 CFU/mL and 0.39 CFU/mL, respectively. A recovery of 99.8 ± 15.9 % was achieved for concentrations between 1–1000 CFU/mL. The established combined analytical method is sensitive for rapid screening of surface and drinking water to allow fast hygiene control of L. pneumophila.

Graphical Abstract

Combined process with MAF, CeUF and CL-SMIA for the rapid detection of L. pneumophila in surface water


Legionella pneumophila Microarray-based immunoassay Preconcentration of bacteria Monolith Surface water 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anika Wunderlich
    • 1
  • Carmen Torggler
    • 1
  • Dennis Elsässer
    • 1
  • Christian Lück
    • 2
  • Reinhard Niessner
    • 1
  • Michael Seidel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Chair of Analytical Chemistry and Institute of HydrochemistryTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Institute of Virology, Medical Faculty “C. G. Carus”Technical University of DresdenDresdenGermany

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