The effect of enzyme concentration on the rate of the hydrolysis of cellulose



The relationship among extent of hydrolysis, reaction time, and enzyme dosage was investigated. For this, Sigmacell 50 and pretreated poplar wood (20 g/L) was hydrolyzed with varying dosages of cellulases from three different sources (5 to 100 FPU/g) for time periods ranging from 2 to 94 h. It was found that the formation of glucose can be described by summation of two parallel first order reactions. The extent of hydrolysis at fixed time increases with increasing enzyme dosage in a hyperbolic function. From the empirical data it is possible to calculate the fractions of easily and difficult hydrolyzable cellulose and the digestability which could maximally be obtained at infinite enzyme loadings. In the system Sigmacell 50 and Celluclast the easily and difficult hydrolyzable components are 43.0 and 57.0%, respectively, and the maximum digestability at 94 h is 82.6%. Poplar wood, steam treated at 200°, 220°, and 240°C, showed with Celluclast at 24 h a maximum digestability (weight percentage of wood degraded to glucose) of 43.9, 64.9, and 68.0%. The relationships derived from experimental data allow one to compare objectively the effectiveness of different cellulase enzymes and different pretreatments.