In this study, the applicability of a "fed-batch" strategy, that is, sequential loading of substrate or substrate plus enzymes during enzymatic hydrolysis was evaluated for hydrolysis of steam-pretreated barley straw. The specific aims were to achieve hydrolysis of high substrate levels, low viscosity during hydrolysis, and high glucose concentrations. An enzyme system comprising Celluclast and Novozyme 188, a commercial cellulase product derived from Trichoderma reesei and a beta-glucosidase derived from Aspergillus niger, respectively, was used for the enzymatic hydrolysis. The highest final glucose concentration, 78 g/l, after 72 h of reaction, was obtained with an initial, full substrate loading of 15% dry matter weight/weight (w/w DM). Conversely, the glucose yields, in grams per gram of DM, were highest at lower substrate concentrations, with the highest glucose yield being 0.53 g/g DM for the reaction with a substrate loading of 5% w/w DM after 72 h. The reactions subjected to gradual loading of substrate or substrate plus enzymes to increase the substrate levels from 5 to 15% w/w DM, consistently provided lower concentrations of glucose after 72 h of reaction; however, the initial rates of conversion varied in the different reactions. Rapid cellulose degradation was accompanied by rapid decreases in viscosity before addition of extra substrate, but when extra substrate or substrate plus enzymes were added, the viscosities of the slurries increased and the hydrolytic efficiencies decreased temporarily.
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