The growth inhibiting activity of transferrins, citrate, 2-2′ dipyridyl and desferrioxamine methanesulphonate towards spp. and their serogroups was investigated. The inhibitory activity of all these compounds depended upon the iron-free state of the molecules and was abolished by saturation with iron. No bactericidal effect by transferrins was observed at concentrations up to four times the minimal bacteriostatic concentration. No interaction of transferrins with the legionella cell surface was detected by direct or indirect fluorescence assay, or by dialysis culture experiments in which transferrin was separated from the bacterial cells. The demonstration of a siderophore-like activity in supernates of iron-deficient legionella cultures may account for the ability of spp. to multiply in conditions of iron restriction.


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