Microbial communities associated with the co-metabolism of free cyanide and thiocyanate under alkaline conditions

Lukhanyo Mekuto, Seteno Karabo Obed Ntwampe, John Baptist N. Mudumbi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study focused on the identification of free cyanide (CDO) and thiocyanate (TDO) degrading microbial communities using a culture-dependent and independent approach. Culturable microbial species were isolated from the CDOs (n = 13) and TDOs (n = 18). The CDOs were largely dominated by Bacillus sp. while the TDOs were dominated by Bacillus sp., Klebsiella oxytoca, Providencia sp. and Pseudomonas sp. However, 16S rRNA amplicon gene-sequencing revealed the complexity and diversity of the microbial communities in contrast to the organisms that were detected using culture-dependent technique. Overall, the organisms were mainly dominated by Myroides odoratimimus and Proteus sp. at 37.82 and 30.5% for CDOs, and 35.26 and 17.58% for TDOs, respectively. The co-culturing of the CDOs and TDOs resulted in biochemical changes of key metabolic enzymes, and this resulted in the complete degradation of CN and SCN simultaneously; a phenomenon which has not been witnessed, especially under alkaline conditions. Current ongoing studies are focused on the application of these organisms for the biodegradation of CN and SCN in a continuous system, under changing operational parameters, to assess their effectiveness in the biodegradation of CN and SCN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Journal3 Biotech
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • 16S rDNA
  • Biodegradation
  • Cyanide
  • Microbial communities
  • Thiocyanate
  • VITEK Compact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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