The RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA) technique has been developed for the molecular typing of Legionella in order to characterise the populations of hot water systems. During this study, 22 primers were tested and the four most informative ones were selected. The optimisation of the PCR conditions allowed the setting up of a powerful discriminative genotyping method. Moreover, the definition of a quality management method allowed definition of the key steps and the number of replicates to ensure reproducibility of the RAPD pattern. The RAPD was used to study the hot water network of a building. Legionella colonies (91) were isolated from seven locations and genotyped. The diversity of the population in one sample could vary from one to seven different strains. The study of the traceability showed that, in most of the cases, different populations could be present at different locations of the same network.

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