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Environmental science and pollution research international

Biodegradation potential of cyano-based ionic liquid anions in a culture of Cupriavidus spp. and their in vitro enzymatic hydrolysis by nitrile hydratase.


PMID 24338070

Abstract

Biodegradation tests with bacteria from activated sludge revealed the probable persistence of cyano-based ionic liquid anions when these leave waste water treatment plants. A possible biological treatment using bacteria capable of biodegrading similar compounds, namely cyanide and cyano-complexes, was therefore examined. With these bacteria from the genera Cupriavidus, the ionic liquid anions B(CN)₄(-), C(CN)₃(-), N(CN)₂(-) combined with alkaline cations were tested in different growth media using ion chromatography for the examination of their primary biodegradability. However, no enhanced biodegradability of the tested cyano-based ionic liquids was observed. Therefore, an in vitro enzymatic hydrolysis test was additionally run showing that all tested ionic liquid (IL) anions can be hydrolysed to their corresponding amides by nitrile hydratase, but not by nitrilase under the experimental conditions. The biological stability of the cyano-based anions is an advantage in technological application, but the occurrence of enzymes that are able to hydrolyse the parent compound gives a new perspective on future cyano-based IL anion treatment.