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Bioresour Technol. 2010 Jan;101(1):285-91. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2009.07.057. Epub 2009 Aug 31.

Identification of nitrile hydratase-producing Rhodococcus ruber TH and characterization of an amiE-negative mutant.

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Institute of Biochemical Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, PR China.


Microbial transformation of acrylonitrile to acrylamide by nitrile hydratase is of great interest to green chemistry. During the transformation, acrylic acid is generally accumulated as a by-product through biocatalysis of amidase. A novel strain with high nitrile hydratase activity was isolated from soil and identified as Rhodococcus ruber TH by morphology and 16S rRNA gene analysis. An amidase-negative recombinant, R. ruber TH3 was constructed. Its nitrile hydratase activity was 25% higher than that of the wild type, reaching 490+/-29.2U/mg dry cell weight, while the amidase activity was 60% lower. After 6 h hydration of acrylonitrile using free cells as biocatalysts at 18 degrees C, acrylamide production by TH3 was 23% higher and the production of the by-product, acrylic acid, was 87% lower than that of the wild type. This result demonstrates that the strain TH3 could be valuable for industrial applications.

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