Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 865–875 | Cite as

Degradation of Organic Cyanides byPseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Mohamed S. Nawaz
  • John W. Davis
  • James H. Wolfram
  • Kirit D. Chapatwala
Session 4 Bioengineering Research


A bacterium capable of utilizing acetonitrile (methyl cyanide) as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen was isolated from soil and identified asPseudomonas aeruginosa. This bacterium could also utilize and oxidize numerous lower-mol-wt nitrile compounds and their corresponding amides as growth substrates. A metabolite of acetonitrile in the culture medium was determined to be ammonia. The accumulation of ammonia in the culture medium was proportional to the concentration of the substrate and the inoculum. Cell extracts of the bacterium contained activities corresponding to nitrile aminohydrolase (E C and amidase (E C, which regulate the degradation of acetonitrile. Both enzymes were inducible and hydrolyzed a wide range of substrates, and it was determined that the specific activity of amidase was far greater than the activity of nitrile aminohydrolase.

Index Entries

Acetonitrile biodegradation nitrile aminohydrolase amidase 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed S. Nawaz
    • 1
  • John W. Davis
    • 1
  • James H. Wolfram
    • 2
  • Kirit D. Chapatwala
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Natural SciencesSelma UniversitySelma
  2. 2.BiotechnologyINEL, EGGG, Idaho, Inc.Idaho Falls

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