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Keywords:

  • adsorption;
  • hydrolysis;
  • adsorption capacity;
  • lignin;
  • acetyl content;
  • accessibility;
  • effectiveness

Abstract

Although essential to enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulosic biomass to sugars for fermentation to ethanol or other products, enzyme adsorption and its relationship to substrate features has received limited attention, and little data and insight have been developed on cellulase adsorption for promising pretreatment options, with almost no data available to facilitate comparisons. Therefore, adsorption of cellulase on Avicel, and of cellulase and xylanase on corn stover solids resulting from ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX), ammonia recycled percolation (ARP), controlled pH, dilute acid, lime, and sulfur dioxide (SO2) pretreatments were measured at 4°C. Langmuir adsorption parameters were then estimated by non-linear regression using Polymath software, and cellulase accessibility to cellulose was estimated based on adsorption data for pretreated solids and lignin left after carbohydrate digestion. To determine the impact of delignification and deacetylation on cellulose accessibility, purified CBHI (Cel7A) adsorption at 4°C and hydrolysis with whole cellulase were followed for untreated (UT) corn stover. In all cases, cellulase attained equilibrium in less than 2 h, and upon dilution, solids pretreated by controlled pH technology showed the greatest desorption followed by solids from dilute acid and SO2 pretreatments. Surprisingly, the lowest desorption was measured for Avicel glucan followed by solids from AFEX pretreatment. The higher cellulose accessibility for AFEX and lime pretreated solids could account for the good digestion reported in the literature for these approaches. Lime pretreated solids had the greatest xylanase capacity and AFEX solids the least, showing pretreatment pH did not seem to be controlling. The 24 h glucan hydrolysis rate data had a strong relationship to cellulase adsorption capacities, while 24 h xylan hydrolysis rate data showed no relationship to xylanase adsorption capacities. Furthermore, delignification greatly enhanced enzyme effectiveness but had a limited effect on cellulose accessibility. And because delignification enhanced release of xylose more than glucose, it appears that lignin did not directly control cellulose accessibility but restricted xylan accessibility which in turn controlled access to cellulose. Reducing the acetyl content in corn stover solids significantly improved both cellulose accessibility and enzyme effectiveness. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009;103: 252–267. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.