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Enzymatic degradation of nitriles by Klebsiella oxytoca


Klebsiella oxytoca, isolated from cyanide-containing wastewater, was able to utilize many nitriles as sole source of nitrogen. The major objective of this study was to explore the ability of K. oxytoca to utilize some nitriles and then further evaluate the pathways of transformation of cyanide compounds by K. oxytoca. Results from this study indicate that succinonitrile and valeronitrile were the most optimal sources of nitrogen for the growth of K. oxytoca. The biodegradation of acetonitrile proceeded with the formation of acetamide followed by acetic acid. The production of ammonia was also detected in this biodegradation experiment. Similar results were observed in the propionitrile biodegradation experiments. Collectively, this study suggests that the breakdown of acetonitrile or propionitrile by this bacterium was via a two-step enzymatic hydrolysis with amides as the intermediates and organic acids plus with ammonia as the end products.

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This work was supported by Taiwan National Science Council. Additional thanks to Mr. T.Y. Chen of National Sun Yat-Sen University for his support and assistance throughout this project.

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Correspondence to S. C. Chen.

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Kao, C.M., Chen, K.F., Liu, J.K. et al. Enzymatic degradation of nitriles by Klebsiella oxytoca . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 71, 228–233 (2006).

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  • Nitrile
  • Minimal Inhibitory Concentration
  • Oxygen Uptake Rate
  • Benzonitrile
  • Nitrile Hydratase