Assessment of Rhodococcus erythropolis SET1, a novel nitrile hydrolysing bacterial isolate, has been undertaken with 34 nitriles, 33 chiral and 1 prochiral. These substrates consist primarily of β-hydroxy nitriles with varying alkyl and aryl groups at the β position and containing in several compounds different substituents α to the nitrile. In the case of β-hydroxy nitriles without substitution at the α position, acids were the major products obtained, along with recovered nitrile after biotransformation, as a result of suspected nitrilase activity of the isolate. Unexpectedly, amides were found to be the major hydrolysis product when the β-hydroxy nitriles possessed a vinyl group at this position. To probe this behaviour further, additional related substrates were evaluated containing electron-withdrawing groups at the α position, and amide was also observed upon biotransformation in the presence of SET1. Therefore this novel isolate has also demonstrated NHase activity with nitriles that appears to be substrate-dependent.
- Enzyme catalysis
- Reaction mechanisms