An Investigation into the effect of Steric Hindrance on Amide
by-product formation by Nitrilase

Mr D Jolley, Prof JJB Perry, Dr G Turnbull
Department of Applied Sciences, Northumbria University

Nitrilase enzymes are known to catalyse the hydrolysis of organic nitriles to carboxylic acids, however in certain cases amide may be detected in reaction mixtures,(1, 2) in particular when substrates are sterically hindered around the nitrile group. In an attempt to determine the cause of this by-product formation, a panel of sterically hindered and unhindered aromatic nitrile substrates were screened against three active nitrilases. HPLC analysis of the product mixtures showed that amide was detected for all three enzymes when picolinonitrile and isonicotinonitrile were used as substrates.

A full report can be read in ChromCom, the official publication of The Chromatographic Society