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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2008 Nov;288(2):235-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01353.x. Epub 2008 Sep 16.

Utilization of aliphatic nitriles under haloalkaline conditions by Bacillus alkalinitrilicus sp. nov. isolated from soda solonchak soil.

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Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.


Enrichment with isobutyronitrile as the sole carbon, energy and nitrogen source at pH 10, using soda solonchak soils as an inoculum, resulted in the selection of a binary culture consisting of two different spore-forming phenotypes. One of them, strain ANL-iso4, was capable of growth with isobutyronitrile as a single substrate, while the other phenotype only utilized products of isobutyronitrile hydrolysis, such as isobutyroamide and isobutyrate. Strain ANL-iso4 is an obligate alkaliphile and a moderately salt-tolerant bacterium. Apart from isobutyronitrile, it grew on other (C3-C6) aliphatic nitriles at pH 10. Resting cells of ANL-iso4 actively hydrolyzed a number of aliphatic and arylaliphatic nitriles and their corresponding amides. The latter, together with the intermediate formation of amides during nitrile hydrolysis, indicated the presence of a nitrile hydratase/amidase system in the novel bacterium. Although present in an alkaliphilic bacterium, both nitrile- and amide-hydrolyzing activities had a pH optimum within the neutral range, probably due to their intracellular localization. On the basis of phenotypic and phylogenetic analyses, strain ANL-iso4 is proposed as a new species Bacillus alkalinitrilicus sp. nov.

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