Influence of xylan on the enzymatic hydrolysis of steam-pretreated corn stover and hybrid poplar



The focus of this study was to alter the xylan content of corn stover and poplar using SO2-catalyzed steam pretreatment to determine the effect on subsequent hydrolysis by commercial cellulase preparations supplemented with or without xylanases. Steam pretreated solids with xylan contents ranging from ∼1 to 19% (w/w) were produced. Higher xylan contents and improved hemicellulose recoveries were obtained with solids pretreated at lower severities or without SO2-addition prior to pretreatment. The pretreated solids with low xylan content (<4% (w/w)) were characterized by fast and complete cellulose to glucose conversion when utilizing cellulases. Commercial cellulases required xylanase supplementation for effective hydrolysis of pretreated substrates containing higher amounts of xylan. It was apparent that the xylan content influenced both the enzyme requirements for hydrolysis and the recovery of sugars during the pretreatment process. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2009