Biodegradation of cyanide wastes from mining and jewellery industries

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 Apr:38:9-13. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2015.12.004. Epub 2015 Dec 31.


Cyanide, one of the known most toxic chemicals, is widely used in mining and jewellery industries for gold extraction and recovery from crushed ores or electroplating residues. Cyanide toxicity occurs because this compound strongly binds to metals, inactivating metalloenzymes such as cytochrome c oxidase. Despite the toxicity of cyanide, cyanotrophic microorganisms such as the alkaliphilic bacterium Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes CECT5344 may use cyanide and its derivatives as a nitrogen source for growth, making biodegradation of cyanurated industrial waste possible. Genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic techniques applied to cyanide biodegradation ('cyan-omics') provide a holistic view that increases the global insights into the genetic background of cyanotrophic microorganisms that could be used for biodegradation of industrial cyanurated wastes and other biotechnological applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental*
  • Cyanides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Jewelry*
  • Proteomics
  • Waste Disposal Facilities


  • Cyanides