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Biotransformation of iminodiacetonitrile to iminodiacetic acid by Alcaligenes faecalis cells immobilized in ACA-membrane liquid-core capsules

Jin-Feng Zhang, Zhi-Qiang Liu, Xin-Hong Zhang, and Yu-Guo Zheng

Institute of Bioengineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310014, China



Abstract: Biotransformation of iminodiacetonitrile (IDAN) to iminodiacetic acid (IDA) was investigated with a newly isolated Alcaligenes faecalis ZJUTBX11 strain showing nitrilase activity in the immobilized form. To reduce the mass transfer resistance and to increase the toleration ability of the microorganisms to the toxic substrate as well as to enhance their ability to be reused, encapsulation of the whole cells in alginate-chitosan-alginate (ACA) membrane liquid-core capsules was attempted in the present study. The optimal pH and temperature for nitrilase activity of encapsulated A. faecalis ZJUTBX11 cells were 7.5°C and 35°C, respectively, which is consistent with free cells. Based on the Michaelis-Menten model, kinetic parameters of the conversion reaction with IDAN as the substrate were: K m = (17.6 ± 0.3) mmol L−1 and V max = (97.6 ± 1.2) μmol min−1 g−1 of dry cell mass for encapsulated cells and (16.8 ± 0.4) mmol L−1 and (108.0 ± 2.7) μmol min−1 g−1 of dry cell mass for free cells, respectively. After being recycled ten times, the whole cells encapsulated in ACA capsules still retained 90 % of the initial nitrilase activity while only 35 % were retained by free cells. Lab scale production of IDA using encapsulated cells in a bubble column reactor and a packed bed reactor were performed respectively.

Keywords: biotransformation – iminodiacetic acid – microencapsulation – Alcaligenes faecalis – nitrilase – bubble column reactor

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0423-8


Chemical Papers 68 (1) 53–64 (2014)

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