Utilization of the metal-cyano complex tetracyanonickelate (II) by Azotobacter vinelandii

C. M. Kao, S. H. Li, Y. L. Chen, S. C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aims: The ability of Azotobacter vinelandii, a N2-fixing bacterium, to biodegrade tetracyanonickelate (TCN) was evaluated. Methods and Results: The amounts of TCN were measured spectrophotometrically. Ammonia was determined colorimetrically by the indophenol method. The produced methane from TCN conversion by A. vinelandii was detected by gas chromatography. Results showed that A. vinelandii was able to biodegrade 1 mmol l-1 of TCN. Ammonia and methane were detected during the process of TCN degradation. Effects of exogenous nitrogen sources on TCN degradation were addressed in this study. Results revealed that the addition of ammonia (1, 5 and 10 mmol l-1) into the reaction mixtures caused decrease of TCN degradation rate during a 24-h incubation period. This inhibition was also observed when nitrite (5 and 10 mmol l-1) was added, whereas TCN degradation still proceeded after the addition of nitrate at the same concentrations. Furthermore, the rate of TCN utilization was strikingly enhanced when 0.8% of glucose was added. Conclusions: Azotobacter vinelandii can degrade 1 mmol l-1 of TCN into ammonia and methane. However, the inhibitory effects of exogenous ammonia and nitrite on TCN degradation by this bacterium were found in this study. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is the first report defining the capability of A. vinelandii to degrade TCN. This bacterium might have potential value in applied strategies for removing metal-cyano wastes. Furthermore, these findings would be helpful in designing a practical system inoculated with A. vinelandii for the treatment of TCN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-220
Number of pages5
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Ammonia
  • Azotobacter vinelandii
  • Degradation
  • Methane
  • Tetracyanonickelate


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