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Alkaline cyanide biodegradation
by Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes
Luque-Almagro VM, Blasco R, Huertas MJ, Martínez-
Luque M, Moreno-Vivián C, Castillo F & Roldán MD

Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular
Universidad de Córdoba, Spain
Cyanide is produced by bacteria, algae, fungi and plants. However, anthropogenic activities, such as mining and electroplating industry, are the main source of cyanide. The jewellery industry of Córdoba, Spain, produces an alkaline residue containing 20 g·1-1 of free cyanide and high amounts of cyanide-metal complexes, thus making this effluent poisonous. Cyanide is toxic for organisms because it produces stable complexes with metals essential for protein function. Organisms that are able to use it as nitrogen source and bioremediation techniques are attractive alternatives to chemical methods for removing cyanide from industrialeffluents. A cyanotrophic microorganism must have a cyanide resistance mechanism, a system for iron uptake, and a cyanide assimilation pathway.

Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344, a strain isolated from the Guadalquivir river (Córdoba), uses several nitrogen sources including cyanide, cyanate, -cyanoalanine, cyanacetamide and nitroferricyanide under alkaline conditions, which prevents volatile HCN (pKa 9.2) formation. This bacterium also grows with the heavy metal cyanide containing waste water generated by the jewellery industry. CECT5344 is a cyanide-resistant strain which induces an alternative oxidase and a siderophore-based mechanism for iron acquisition in the presence of cyanide. For these reasons, the strain CECT 5344 is a good candidate to be used in cyanide bioremediation.

ENVIS CENTRE Newsletter Vol.6,No 1 March 2008 Back 
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