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Microb Cell Fact. 2012 Oct 30;11:142. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-11-142.

Nitrilases in nitrile biocatalysis: recent progress and forthcoming research.

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  • 1The Key Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, People's Republic of China.


Over the past decades, nitrilases have drawn considerable attention because of their application in nitrile degradation as prominent biocatalysts. Nitrilases are derived from bacteria, filamentous fungi, yeasts, and plants. In-depth investigations on their natural sources function mechanisms, enzyme structure, screening pathways, and biocatalytic properties have been conducted. Moreover, the immobilization, purification, gene cloning and modifications of nitrilase have been dwelt upon. Some nitrilases are used commercially as biofactories for carboxylic acids production, waste treatment, and surface modification. This critical review summarizes the current status of nitrilase research, and discusses a number of challenges and significant attempts in its further development. Nitrilase is a significant and promising biocatalyst for catalytic applications.

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