SUMMARY: A species of was isolated from garden soil on the basis of its capacity to use acetonitrile as sole C and N source. Acetonitrile-grown cells hydrolysed a number of amides and nitriles to ammonia. The substrate nitriles, listed in order of decreasing hydrolysis rates, were acetonitrile, acrylonitrile, propionitrile and -butyronitrile. The corresponding amides were also hydrolysed together with formamide and, to a small extent, nicotinamide. With the exception of acrylonitrile and acrylamide, each compound supported growth as did the non-substrates malonamide, benzamide, α-phenylacetamide and 3-aminopropionitrile. Benzonitrile, phenylacetonitrile (benzyl cyanide), malononitrile and aminoacetonitrile did not support growth. Nicotinamide and benzamide stimulated acetamidase activity but malonamide had no effect. Both the aminonitriles inhibited the acetonitrilase system. Cells grown in succinate (NH)SO medium did not hydrolyse acetonitrile or acetamide indicating that the enzymes involved in nitrile degradation are subject to induction/repression. Acetamide and acetate appear to be gratuitous inducers of acetonitrilase: acetate also induces the acetamidase.


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