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Keywords:

  • enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis;
  • cellulose digestibility;
  • lignocellulose pretreatment;
  • methodological analysis;
  • bias error;
  • measurement uncertainty

Abstract

Accurate measurement of enzymatic cellulose digestibility (X) is important in evaluating the efficiency of lignocellulose pretreatment technologies, assessing the performance of reconstituted cellulase mixtures, and conducting economic analysis for biorefinery processes. We analyzed the effect of sugars contained in enzymes solutions, usually added as a preservative, and random measurement errors on the accuracy of X calculated by various methods. The analysis suggests that exogenous sugars at levels measured in several commercial enzyme preparations significantly bias the results and that this error should be minimized by accounting for these sugars in the calculation of X. Additionally, a method of calculating X equating the ratio of the soluble glucose equivalent in the liquid phase after hydrolysis to the sum of the soluble glucose equivalent in the liquid phase and the insoluble glucose equivalent in the residual solid after hydrolysis was found to be the most accurate, particularly at high conversion levels (>ca. 50%). Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2007;96: 188–194. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.