Comparison of enzymatic reactivity of corn stover solids prepared by dilute acid, AFEX™, and ionic liquid pretreatments

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Abstract

Background: Pretreatment is essential to realize high product yields from biological conversion of naturally recalcitrant cellulosic biomass, with thermochemical pretreatments often favored for cost and performance. In this study, enzymatic digestion of solids from dilute sulfuric acid (DA), ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX™), and ionic liquid (IL) thermochemical pretreatments of corn stover were followed over time for the same range of total enzyme protein loadings to provide comparative data on glucose and xylose yields of monomers and oligomers from the pretreated solids. The composition of pretreated solids and enzyme adsorption on each substrate were also measured to determine. The extent glucose release could be related to these features. Results: Corn stover solids from pretreatment by DA, AFEX, and IL were enzymatically digested over a range of low to moderate loadings of commercial cellulase, xylanase, and pectinase enzyme mixtures, the proportions of which had been previously optimized for each pretreatment. Avicel® cellulose, regenerated amorphous cellulose (RAC), and beechwood xylan were also subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis as controls. Yields of glucose and xylose and their oligomers were followed for times up to 120 hours, and enzyme adsorption was measured. IL pretreated corn stover displayed the highest initial glucose yields at all enzyme loadings and the highest final yield for a low enzyme loading of 3 mg protein/g glucan in the raw material. However, increasing the enzyme loading to 12 mg/g glucan or more resulted in DA pretreated corn stover attaining the highest longer-term glucose yields. Hydrolyzate from AFEX pretreated corn stover had the highest proportion of xylooligomers, while IL produced the most glucooligomers. However, the amounts of both oligomers dropped with increasing enzyme loadings and hydrolysis times. IL pretreated corn stover had the highest enzyme adsorption capacity. Conclusions: Initial hydrolysis yields were highest for substrates with greater lignin removal, a greater degree of change in cellulose crystallinity, and high enzyme accessibility. Final glucose yields could not be clearly related to concentrations of xylooligomers released from xylan during hydrolysis. Overall, none of these factors could completely account for differences in enzymatic digestion performance of solids produced by AFEX, DA, and IL pretreatments. © 2014 Gao et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Gao, X., Kumar, R., Singh, S., Simmons, B. A., Balan, V., Dale, B. E., & Wyman, C. E. (2014). Comparison of enzymatic reactivity of corn stover solids prepared by dilute acid, AFEXTM, and ionic liquid pretreatments. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1754-6834-7-71

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