Hello Fellow Readers! Guess what day it is? It’s Fun[gi] Friday!

Today we will discuss Legionella. Legionella is a bacteria, not a fungus, but it is an important pathogen that indoor air quality specialist often contend with. Cody Lively, one of our laboratory technicians, is happy to tell us about the all-new Legionella Press at Assured Bio, LLC. This new press is being utilized to fulfill new standards of Legionella testing. Water is the matrix where Legionella resides. Potable water samples require filtration to concentrate any Legionella bacteria present, before culturing or DNA testing.


Cody performs a variety of tasks. He conducts water testing for different contaminants such as E.Coli and Legionella sp. He also contributes with his knowledge of fungal identification. Cody attended Pellissippi State Technical Community College where he graduated with an Associate of Science degree. In his free time he is quite adventurous and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and extreme sports.

water in syringe

Cody talks about how the new press works, “The new and improved Legionella Press takes the workload off of lab analysts so that they can process more samples in less amount of time. Simply put, a bank of these presses will allow us to crank through samples and significantly improve our high volume throughput.  The press can be used by loading the sample, pulling the lever down, and let the actual instrument do the work instead of the lab analyst doing it manually or dealing with expensive and and slow filtration systems. It saves time, money, and is most importantly, highly efficient.”  Assured Bio Labs designed the press with the help of a very talented engineering company.

cody pulling press left

I asked Cody to give me a demonstration of how it works. He sanitizes his gloved hands with rubbing alcohol, rubs them together, and then prepares to pull the lever, which requires about 70 lbs. of pressure. The lever press provides a consistent amount of pressure to be applied to the plunger, as it steadily pushes water in the barrel through the filter to the tip and out the other end, into the beaker of filtered water. After seeing the actual process with my own eyes, I have to say it is remarkably simple contrary to performing this test by hand, which is much more difficult and may pose a hazardous situation for the lab analyst as the contaminated water could splash onto them.

water flowing

Legionella is found nationwide and is commonly present in natural bodies of water, such as lakes and streams, as well in air conditioning cooling towers and condensers and in water systems (hot tubs). Legionella bacteria can survive in moist environments for a long time at high temperatures and in the presence of disinfectants such as chlorine. Legionella bacteria can also survive in biofilms that develop in the pipes of water systems.  This is particularly problematic for hospitals and large commercial buildings.

People can contract Legionnaires’ Disease when they inhale a mist or vapor that is contaminated with the bacteria. One example might be from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected. The bacteria are not contagious between humans.

The best way to prevent Legionnaire’s Disease is to ensure that any water system under your control is properly maintained and conforms to relevant health and safety regulations. This mainly involves keeping water either cooled below 20C or above 60C.  The CDC has a guidelines for Legionella prevention and some states have their own laws requiring testing.

legionella bacteria

Assured Bio Labs is a CDC Elite and AIHA accredited to test for Legionella.  We offer standard viable testing and DNA analysis for Legionella.  The test requires collecting water and sending it to the lab where it undergoes culturing or quantitative PCR analysis of Legionella DNA. Viable testing indicates the number of living Legionella bacteria that are in the sample, whereas quantitative PCR determines the total number of Legionella bacteria present.  There are many different species of Legionella bacteria.  The most common is Legionella pneumophila.  We have the capability to determine species and even serotypes, depending on the client’s needs.   Moreover, the CDC/NIOSH is currently testing our new M-TRAP air sampling cassette to capture Legionella.  The results are promising.  Soon it may be possible to accurately quantify airborne concentrations, which would open up new avenues for exposure assessment and Legionella investigation.  Because many Legionella testing situations are unique, please call the lab to discuss the best sample collection process with one of our scientists.


Want to find out more about Legionella testing? Call 1-866-547-1727 to talk to one of our experts.


Preventing diseases one day at a time,