Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 156, Issue 3, pp 231–238 | Cite as

Metabolism of acrylonitrile by Klebsiella pneumoniae

  • Mohamed S. Nawaz
  • Wirt Franklin
  • Warren L. Campbell
  • Thomas M. Heinze
  • Carl E. Cerniglia
Original Papers


A gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium capable of utilizing acrylonitrile as the sole source of nitrogen was isolated from industrial sewage and identified as Klebsiella pneumoniae. The isolate was capable of utilizing aliphatic nitriles containing 1 to 5 carbon atoms or benzonitrile as the sole source of nitrogen and either acetamide or propionamide as the sole source of both carbon and nitrogen. Gas chromatographic and mass spectral analyses of culture filtrates indicated that K. pneumoniae was capable of hydrolyzing 6.15 mmol of acrylonitrile to 5.15 mmol of acrylamide within 24 h. The acrylamide was hydrolyzed to 1.0 mmol of acrylic acid within 72 h. Another metabolite of acrylonitrile metabolism was ammonia, which reached a maximum concentration of 3.69 mM within 48 h. Nitrile hydratase and amidase, the two hydrolytic enzymes responsible for the sequential metabolism of nitrile compounds, were induced by acrylonitrile. The optimum temperature for nitrile hydratase activity was 55°C and that for amidase was 40°C; both enzymes had pH optima of 8.0.

Key words

Nitriles Biodegradation Klebsiella pneumoniae Acrylonitrile metabolites Nitrile hydratase Amidase 



phosphate buffered medium


gas chromatography


gas chromatography/mass spectrometry


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed S. Nawaz
    • 1
  • Wirt Franklin
    • 1
  • Warren L. Campbell
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Heinze
    • 1
  • Carl E. Cerniglia
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Toxicological ResearchFood and Drug AdministrationJeffersonUSA

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