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J Gen Microbiol. 1983 Apr;129(4):1005-11.

Isolation and growth of a Pseudomonas species that utilizes cyanide as a source of nitrogen.


A simple method of isolating bacteria that utilize cyanide as a source of nitrogen for growth has been developed. This involved supplying hydrogen cyanide as a vapour to glucose-containing minimal-salts agar plates. The bacteria isolated were Gram-negative, oxidase-positive rods producing a fluorescent green pigment and were tentatively identified as strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens. Three organisms were studied further and shown to be P. fluorescens biotype II. One of these (NCIB 11764) was grown in a glucose-containing fed-batch culture with either NH4Cl or KCN as the limiting nutrient. Cyanide-grown bacteria produced stoichiometric amounts of ammonia from cyanide when pulsed with cyanide under aerobic conditions. Stimulation of oxygen uptake was seen on addition of cyanide to suspensions of cyanide-grown but not ammonia-grown bacteria.

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