Abstract The filamentous fungus Fusarium lateritium is cyanide tolerant, due partly to the induction of the enzyme cyanide hydratase in the presence of cyanide. This enzyme catalyses the hydration of cyanide to formamide. The expression in Escherichia coli of a cDNA clone encoding cyanide hydratase is described. The cDNA cloned was expressed as a transcriptional fusion in the expression vector pKK233-2 and a high level of activity of cyanide hydratase was detected in E. coli. Site-directed mutagenesis of the cys-163 residue inactivated the enzyme.