Cyanamide in aqueous solution is used as a fertilizer in agriculture. It provides ammonia to the soil by its metabolic conversion. It also has the additional advantage of acting as an effective herbicide. Chemically, cyanamide belongs to the class of nitriles. Enzymes that hydrate the nitrile group to the corresponding amide, nitrile hydratases, are frequently found in bacteria. Enzymatic activity in extracts of a soil fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, hydrates the nitrile group of cyanamide with formation of urea (Maier-Greiner et al., 1991).
The following is a text-format cyanamide pathway map. Organisms which can initiate the pathway are given, but other organisms may also carry out later steps. Follow the links for more information on compounds or reactions. This map is also available in graphic (3k) format.
Cyanamide Myrothecium verrucaria | | | cyanamide hydratase | | v Urea | | | urease | | v Carbon dioxide | | | | | | to the C1 Metabolic Cycle
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