Methods for assaying cyanide in bacterial culture supernatant

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2004;38(5):360-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2004.01489.x.


Aims: To find an easy, rapid and direct method for the quantitation of cyanide in a moderate number of bacterial culture supernatants.

Methods and results: Culture supernatant from stationary phase cultures of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, grown in LB media, were analysed for cyanide content using the Merckoquant and Spectroquant cyanide detection kits as well as a cyanide ion-selective electrode (ISE) and a cyanide micro-ISE. The Merckoquant kit, designed for detection of low quantities of cyanide in water systems, proved not to be sufficiently reliable, providing poor comparison with previous assessments of cyanide levels in Ps. aeruginosa. The Spectroquant kit, and the two ISEs all provided very similar results, in agreement with previous data; however, it was the ISEs that fulfilled all the criteria for a rapid, direct test in a moderate number of samples.

Conclusions: Cyanide ISEs can be used for easy assessment of the cyanide quantity in cultures grown in LB medium.

Significance and impact of the study: The use of a cyanide ISE allows for an easy, direct and reproducible method for assaying cyanide in bacterial culture supernatant, which is of significant advantage over the currently accepted methods. This is especially important in an era of high-output genomic studies for assessing the phenotypic significance of data relating to the cyanide synthetic genes.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Culture Media
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / chemistry*
  • Cyanides / analysis*
  • Electrodes
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*
  • Water / chemistry


  • Culture Media
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Cyanides
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Water