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*Pratiksha Alagh and Gaganjyot Kaur, B. S. Ajit Kumar


Nitriles are extremely toxic to the humans and cause environmental nuisance. Acetonitrile (ACN) is one such nitrile that is extensively used in many industries. There are chemical and physical methods of degradation of acetonitrile; however they have their own drawbacks. Green chemistry uses microbial source as an agent to clean the environment. Using this approach, we have identified six bacterial species using standard antibiotic sensitivity and 16s rRNA sequencing, which are able to tolerate and grow in a significant concentration of acetonitrile (5% w/v). The strains have been identified as Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumanii, Serratia plymuthica and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Of this Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Acinetobacter baumanii, Serratia plymuthica have never been reported before for such activity to the best of our knowledge. The strains were able to tolerate up to 10% v/v ACN. This has been the highest concentration reported so far. The bioremediation efficiency was studied and a putative enzymatic pathway for degradation was elucidated. These bacteria hold great potential as a tool to clean up the environment. Also the enzymes responsible for degradation can act as biocatalyst in various industrial processes.

Keywords: Bioremediation, acetonitrile, enzyme assay, 16s rRNA, antibiotic sensitivity.

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