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July 4, 1980

Enhanced Growth of Legionella pneumophila in the Presence of Selenium

Author Affiliations

Memphis State University Memphis

JAMA. 1980;244(1):27. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010017007

To the Editor.—  Legionella pneumophila has been characterized as a fastidious organism that is unable to grow on many standard media. This organism has been shown to have several growth requirements. Feeley et al1 demonstrated that L-cysteine and ferric pyrophosphate must be used for cultivation of this bacterium in artificial media. Warren and Miller2 reported that L-cysteine was required but could be replaced by L-cystine or reduced glutathione. Their studies also indicated that the ferric iron was needed for maximum growth but that iron was not an essential growth requirement. Recently, Chen and Anderson3 reported that selenium was lower in sera of acutely ill Legionnaires' disease patients than in their convalescent sera. Because selenium has been found to enhance bacterial growth at low concentrations for other bacteria,4 an investigation was undertaken to determine the effect of selenium on the growth of L pneumophila.A specimen of