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Can J Microbiol. 1975 May;21(5):613-18.

Hydrogen cyanide, a secondary metabolite of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.


Seventy-four of 110 strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa tested produced detectable amounts of HCN from growth in 2% peptone or nutrient agar. Of the 25 species of12 bacterial and fungal genera tested, other than P. aeruginosa, only P. fluorescens and P. polycolor gave positive HCN tests. Cyanide is produced after cessation of active growth. Iron was stimulatory to cyanogenesis in concentration above 1 muM, while copper, zinc, cobalt, and manganese at concentrations of 20 muM had no effect. Cyanogenesis id dependent on the temperature of incubation within ranges which allow complete growth. Inorganic phosphate in concentrations between 90 and 300 mM allows growth but inhibits HCN production. Growth of cells anaerobically, using nitrate as the electron acceptor, results in low cyanide yields, which can be partially reversed by subsequent aerobic incubation. These results indicate that HCN is a secondary metabolite of P. aeruginosa.

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