Enzymatic hydrolysis and recrystallization behavior of initially amorphous cellulose

Authors

  • Maria Silvia Bertran,

    1. Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
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  • Bruce E. Dale

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    • Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
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Abstract

Cellulose samples from cotton and wood pulps with varying low degrees of crystallinity (mechanically decrystallized) were studied. The influence of initial cellulose crystallinity on sugar yield after enzymatic hydrolysis was determined by two different methods. As expected, samples with low crystallinity were much more accessible to enzymatic attack and glucose yields were higher than were samples of high initial crystallinity. Hydrolysis of cellulose seems more dependent on cellulose crystallinity than on the source of cellulose. It is known that decrystallized or amorphous cellulose can recrystallize under proper conditions, e.g., during acid hydrolysis. The data reported here also reveal some recrystallization during enzymatic hydrolysis which probably occurs simulataneously with a selective enzymatic attack on the amorphous regions of cellulose. In all cases, the amorphous celluloses recrystallized in the original lattice form, that of native cellulose.

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