Bioconversion of butyronitrile to butyramide using whole cells ofRhodococcus rhodochrousPA-34

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Butyramide is an important chemical commodity, which is used for the synthesis of hydroxamic acids and electrorheological fluids and for the preparation of β-amodoorganotin compounds. The nitrile hydratase (Nhase) of Rhodococcus rhodochrous PA-34 catalyzed the conversion of butyronitrile to butyramide. The maximum Nhase activity [18 U/mg dry cell weight (dcw)] of whole cells of R. rhodochrous PA-34 was observed at pH 7.0 with 10% (v/v) butyronitrile and 1 mg cells (dcw)/ml reaction mixture at 10°C. The cells of R. rhodochrous PA-34 retained almost 50% activity when incubated for 1 h in the presence of 85% (v/v) butyronitrile. A yield of 597 g of butyramide (6.8 M) was obtained using 60% (v/v) butyronitrile, 1 g cells (dry weight) in a 1-l batch reaction at 10°C for 6 h.

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