Utilization of cyanide as nitrogenous substrate by Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764: evidence for multiple pathways of metabolic conversion
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
The growth of Pseudomonas fluorescens NCIMB 11764 on cyanide as the sole nitrogen source was accomplished by use of a modified fed-batch cultivation procedure. Previous studies showing that cyanide metabolism in this organism is both an oxygen-dependent and an inducible process, with CO2 and ammonia representing conversion products, were confirmed. However, washed cells (40 mg ml-' [dry weight]) metabolized cyanide at concentrations far exceeding those previously described; 85% of 50 mM KCN was
... 5% of 50 mM KCN was degraded in 6 h. In addition, two other C1 metabolites were detected in incubation mixtures; their identities were confirmed as formamide and formate by 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectrocopy, high-pressure liquid chromatography, radioisotopic trapping experiments, and other analytical means. The relative yields of all four metabolites (CO2, formamide, formate, and ammonia) were shown to be dependent on the KCN concentration and availability of oxygen; at 0.5 to 10 mM substrate, CO2 was the major Cl product, whereas at 20 and 50 mM substrate, formamide and formate were principally formed. The latter two metabolites also accumulated during prolonged anaerobic incubation, suggesting that P. fluorescens NCIMB 11764 can elaborate several pathways of cyanide conversion. One is formally similar to that proposed previously (R. E. Harris and C. J. Knowles, FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 20:337-341, 1983), involving the oxygen-dependent conversion of cyanide to CO2 and ammonia. The other two, occurring in the presence or absence of oxygen, involve separate reactions to yield, respectively, formate plus ammonia or formamide. Since ammonia was detected essentially under all reaction conditions and no further evidence that formamide was further degraded was obtained, the utilization of cyanide as a provisional nitrogen source is presumed to proceed via ammonia as an assimilatory substrate.