Korean J Parasitol.  2020 Apr;58(2):191-194. 10.3347/kjp.2020.58.2.191.

Identification of Free-Living Amoebas in Tap Water of Buildings with Storage Tanks in Korea

  • 1Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 50612, Korea
  • 2Department of Premedicine, School of Medicine, Pusan National University, Yangsan 50612, Korea
  • 3Research Institute for Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital, Yangsan 50612, Korea


Free-living amoebas (FLAs) can cause severe disease in humans and animals when they become infected. However, there are no accurate survey reports on the prevalence of FLAs in Korea. In this study, we collected 163 tap water samples from buildings, apartments, and restrooms of highway service areas in 7 Korean provinces with high population density. All these buildings and facilities have water storage tanks in common. The survey was separated into categories of buildings, apartments, and highway service areas. Five hundred milliliters of tap water from each building was collected and filtered with 0.2 µm pore filter paper. The filters were incubated in agar plates with heated E. coli at 25°C. After axenization, genomic DNA was collected from each FLA, and species classification was performed using partial 18S-rDNA PCR-sequencing analysis. We found that 12.9% of tap water from buildings with storage tanks in Korea was contaminated with FLAs. The highway service areas had the highest contamination rate at 33.3%. All of the FLAs, except one, were genetically similar to Vermamoeba vermiformis (Hartmannella vermiformis). The remaining FLA (KFA21) was very similar to Acanthamoeba lugdunensis (KA/E26). Although cases of human infection by V. vermiformis are very rare, we must pay attention to the fact that one-third of tap water supplies in highway service areas have been contaminated.


; free-living amoeba; tap water of storage tank; 18S-rDNA sequencing
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