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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Jun;57(6):1783-9.

Novel cyanide-hydrolyzing enzyme from Alcaligenes xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans.

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  • 1Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Allé, Bagsvaerd, Denmark.


A cyanide-metabolizing bacterium, strain DF3, isolated from soil was identified as Alcaligenes xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans. Whole cells and cell extracts of strain DF3 catalyzed hydrolysis of cyanide to formate and ammonia (HCN + 2H2O----HCOOH + NH3) without forming formamide as a free intermediate. The cyanide-hydrolyzing activity was inducibly produced in cells during growth in cyanide-containing media. Cyanate (OCN-) and a wide range of aliphatic and aromatic nitriles were not hydrolyzed by intact cells of A. xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans DF3. Strain DF3 hydrolyzed cyanide with great efficacy. Thus, by using resting induced cells at a concentration of 11.3 mg (dry weight) per ml, the cyanide concentration could be reduced from 0.97 M (approximately 25,220 ppm) to less than 77 nM (approximately 0.002 ppm) in 55 h. Enzyme purification established that cyanide hydrolysis by A. xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans DF3 was due to a single intracellular enzyme. The soluble enzyme was purified approximately 160-fold, and the first 25 NH2-terminal amino acids were determined by automated Edman degradation. The molecular mass of the active enzyme (purity, greater than 97% as determined by amino acid sequencing) was estimated to be greater than 300,000 Da. The cyanide-hydrolyzing enzyme of A. xylosoxidans subsp. denitrificans DF3 was tentatively named cyanidase to distinguish it from known nitrilases (EC which act on organic nitriles.

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