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Role of α-Keto Acids In Cyanide Detoxification and Assimilation by Pseudomonas Bacteria

Description: Cyanide was rapidly removed when added to culture supernatants of seven different Pseudomonas. The ability to remove cyanide was correlated with the accumulation of α-keto acids (pyruvate and α-ketoglutarate). These compounds react with cyanide forming less toxic cyanohydrins, thus conferring a mechanism for bacterial cyanide tolerance. When added to growth media the α-keto acids were shown also to serve as effective cyanide antagonists. While all bacteria tested accumulated α-keto acids, only those capable of utilizing cyanide as a nutritional nitrogen source were able to metabolize cyanohydrins. In P. fluorescens NCIMB 11764, the same enzyme (cyanide oxygenase) shown previously to be involved in cyanide metabolism appears responsible for cyanohydrin transformation. Keto acid excretion is believed to represent a new mechanism of bacterial cyanide detoxification with further enzymatic metabolism of the cyanohydrins helping to explain how cyanide can satisfy the nitrogen requirement in cyanide-utilizing bacteria.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Pan, Guangliang
Partner: UNT Libraries