Degradation of Acetonitrile by Pseudomonas putida

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A bacterium capable of utilizing high concentrations of acetonitrile as the sole source of carbon and nitrogen was isolated from soil and identified as Pseudomonas putida. This bacterium could also utilize butyronitrile, glutaronitrile, isobutyronitrile, methacrylonitrile, propionitrile, succinonitrile, valeronitrile, and some of their corresponding amides, such as acetamide, butyramide, isobutyramide, methacrylamide, propionamide, and succinamide as growth substrates. Acetonitrile-grown cells oxidized acetonitrile with a K(m) of 40.61 mM. Mass balance studies with [C]acetonitrile indicated that nearly 66% of carbon of acetonitrile was released as CO(2) and 14% was associated with the biomass. Metabolites of acetonitrile in the culture medium were acetic acid and ammonia. The acetate formed in the early stages of growth completely disappeared in the later stages. Cell extracts of acetonitrile-grown cells contained activities corresponding to nitrile hydratase and amidase, which mediate the breakdown of actonitrile into acetic acid and ammonia. Both enzymes were intracellular and inducible and hydrolyzed a wide range of substrates. The specific activity of amidase was at least 150-fold higher than the activity of the enzyme nitrile hydratase.




Nawaz, M.S., K.D. Chapatwala, and J.H. Wolfram, "Degradation of Acetonitrile by Pseudomonas putida," Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 55(9):2267-2274 (1989).
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