Legionella testing

Our rapid DNA based Legionella assay is a powerful testing technique for early detection of Legionella that isolates and enumerates Legionella species in water and provides you with a rapid and cost-effective testing service.

The method couples standard bacterial culture techniques with DNA technology, meets the current standard method (AS/NZS 3896), and has a superior advantage in speed. Confirmed Legionella pneumophila counts are available in three days, compared to up to seven days by the standard method.

Our delivery of rapid results enables your remedial action much quicker than previously possible.


Legionella are common in industrial and environmental water sources, existing as part of biofilms or in sediments and are often found to co-exist with protozoa and ciliates. Legionella species are responsible for sporadic and outbreak cases of atypical pneumonia (Legionellosis) and a lesser form of infection known as Pontiac Fever, which is undiagnosed in many instances.


Efforts to control the spread of Legionnaire’s Disease have primarily concentrated on stopping the potential of transmission by controlling the multiplication of Legionella in water sources. Chemical dosing of water sources is the primary measure employed, although there are other techniques available, such as DNA testing.

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Sample container
300mL sterile plastic (PT300)

PT300 - sterile - sodium thio - air gap, ice

Analytes & holding times
All water types
#Legionella (24 hours)
Samples from warm or hot water systems require NO FLUSHING or flame sterilisation of sample tap prior to sampling

Sampling requirements -  air gap

Storage and preservation
Iced or chilled to 4°C.
Sodium thiosulphate dosed.

Aseptic preparation is mandatory. Bottle to be double bagged with zip locks for storage on ice

Traditional testing method

Current testing for Legionella relies upon the use of traditional method that is based on AS/NZS 3896 which isolates and enumerates Legionella species in water by the spread plate technique.

The sample of water is treated, inoculated onto specific media and incubated up to 7-10 days. Further tests are performed to confirm suspect Legionella like organisms. Confirmed Legionella are identified as Legionella spp., Legionella serogroup 1 or serogroup 2-14 using rapid latex slide agglutination.

Rapid DNA assay

Our method couples standard bacterial culture techniques with DNA technology to allow more rapid detection. This method was compared to the current standard method (AS/NZS 3896) in an extensive field evaluation involving over 140 samples. The results indicate that the newly developed rapid method is as accurate as the standard method, but has a superior advantage in speed, with confirmed Legionella pneumophila counts available in as little as 3 days compared to 5-7 days by the standard method. These results have been published in one of the premier environmental journals, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The greatest advantage of the rapid test is the speed at which results can be delivered. Typically, depending on species, the turn-around-time is reduced by at least 3-4 days. A faster result aids in the administration of remedial action sooner than previously possible to potentially stop contaminated sources continuing to spread Legionella.

The assay tests the DNA of the bacteria, making it highly sensitive, specific and reduces the chances of reporting an erroneous result.