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Includes the court cases of a symposium held on the Ciba starting place, March 1988. participants current a global, interdisciplinary method of the biology and organic chemistry of cyanide and similar compounds. Addressed are the microbial metabolism of HCN and natural nitrile compounds, cyanogenesis in larger crops, qualitative and quantitative tools of study of cyanogenic glycosides, and detoxing of hydrogen cyanide by way of animals.

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The water bound from the bottom site is important for the hydration reaction. It is replaced by the substrate to form the enzyme-substrate complex. We are investigating the mechanism of the subsequent reaction. PQQ is known as a cofactor for oxidoreductases. The nitrile hydratase is not an oxidoreductase but hydrogen peroxide stimulates the chemical (non-enzymic) hydration of nitriles. It is possible that electron transport or oxidoreduction may be involved in this enzymic hydration. Conn: In the proposed mechanism, water in the iron chelate is replaced by the nitrile group of the substrate.

Both enzymes are produced constitutively and the hydratase probably has a pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) cofactor like the Brevibacterium hydratase and the Pseudomonas hydratase studied by Professor Yamada’s group in Japan (Nagasawa et a1 1986, 1987). Conn: Are these large proteins? Ingvorsen: We have only recently started to characterize them. We have isolated a large number of these enzymes and do not intend to initiate timeconsuming purification work unless the enzyme has some potential applications.

The fungal system can rapidly degrade simple cyanide-containing wastes but cannot degrade metal cyanide complexes. Some bacteria have been isolated that are capable of degrading metal cyanide complexes. Systems based on such organisms may be more useful for treatment of cyanidecontaining waste waters. Nitriles During the conventional large-scale chemical synthesis of nitriles, especially base chemicals such as acrylonitrile and adiponitrile, considerable amounts of wastes are generated that contain these nitriles as well as a variety of related nitriles and amides.

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