Cellulase and bovine serum albumin (BSA) were added to Avicel cellulose and solids containing 56% cellulose and 28% lignin from dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment of corn stover. Little BSA was adsorbed on Avicel cellulose, while pretreated corn stover solids adsorbed considerable amounts of this protein. On the other hand, cellulase was highly adsorbed on both substrates. Adding a 1% concentration of BSA to dilute acid pretreated corn stover prior to enzyme addition at 15 FPU/g cellulose enhanced filter paper activity in solution by about a factor of 2 and beta-glucosidase activity in solution by about a factor of 14. Overall, these results suggested that BSA treatment reduced adsorption of cellulase and particularly beta-glucosidase on lignin. Of particular note, BSA treatment of pretreated corn stover solids prior to enzymatic hydrolysis increased 72 h glucose yields from about 82% to about 92% at a cellulase loading of 15 FPU/g cellulose or achieved about the same yield at a loading of 7.5 FPU/g cellulose. Similar improvements were also observed for enzymatic hydrolysis of ammonia fiber explosion (AFEX) pretreated corn stover and Douglas fir treated by SO2 steam explosion and for simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) of BSA pretreated corn stover. In addition, BSA treatment prior to hydrolysis reduced the need for beta-glucosidase supplementation of SSF. The results are consistent with non-specific competitive, irreversible adsorption of BSA on lignin and identify promising strategies to reduce enzyme requirements for cellulose hydrolysis. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.