Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 7, pp 3091–3097 | Cite as

Acanthamoeba release compounds which promote growth of Listeria monocytogenes and other bacteria

  • Lars Fieseler
  • Dominik Doyscher
  • Martin J. Loessner
  • Markus SchupplerEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


Listeria monocytogenes can grow as a saphrophyte in diverse habitats, e.g., soil, rivers, lakes, and on decaying plant material. In these environments, the bacteria are frequently exposed to predatory protozoa such as Acanthamoeba. Although L. monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen it does not infect or survive intracellular in Acanthamoeba castellanii, unlike several other facultative intracellular bacteria. Instead, motile L. monocytogenes can form large aggregates on amoebal cells and are effectively phagocytosed and eventually digested by Acanthamoeba. Here, we demonstrate that non-motile L. monocytogenes represent a less preferred prey in co-cultures with A. castellanii. Moreover, we found that the presence of Acanthamoeba strongly promotes growth of the bacteria in non-nutrient saline, by releasing nutrients or other growth promoters. Thus, the lack of motility and ability to utilize amoebal metabolites may aid to avoid eradication by amoebal predation in low-nutrient environments.


Listeria monocytogenes Acanthamoeba castellanii Co-culture Growth promotion Secreted metabolites 



The authors would like to give special thanks to Matthias Horn for providing the Acanthamoeba castellanii strain. This work was funded by the Competence Center Environment and Sustainability of the ETH Domain (CCES), project name “BactFlow”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Fieseler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dominik Doyscher
    • 1
    • 3
  • Martin J. Loessner
    • 1
  • Markus Schuppler
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Food, Nutrition and HealthETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Food and Beverage InnovationZHAW Zurich8820 WädenswilSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenOberschleissheimGermany

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