Main content area

New strategy to elucidate the positive effects of extractable lignin on enzymatic hydrolysis by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation

Lai, Chenhuan, Yang, Bo, Lin, Zihe, Jia, Yuan, Huang, Caoxing, Li, Xin, Song, Xiangyang, Yong, Qiang
Biotechnology for biofuels 2019 v.12 no.1 pp. 57
adsorption, binding sites, desorption, enzymatic hydrolysis, ethanol, lignin, lignocellulose, molecular weight, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, quartz crystal microbalance, saccharification, sawdust, wood
BACKGROUND: The presence of lignin normally affects enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose detrimentally. However, positive effects of lignin on enzymatic hydrolysis have been recently reported. Enzyme–lignin interactions could be the key to reveal the underlying mechanism of their discrepant behaviors. In this study, to elucidate the positive effects of extractable lignin (EL) on enzymatic hydrolysis of ethanol organosolv-pretreated wood sawdust, two lignin fractions, EL and milled wood lignin (MWL), were isolated sequentially from pretreated substrates. Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) was then used to investigate the lignin aggregation effects on enzyme adsorption. RESULTS: We found that both EL and MWL had a narrow molecular weight distribution. However, MWL had an obviously higher molecular weight than EL. This indicated that EL and MWL likely represent two distinct lignin fractions from ethanol organosolv-pretreated substrates. HSQC NMR analysis revealed that less β-O-4, β-β, and β-5 linkages and a higher S/G ratio was present in EL, as compared to MWL. QCM-D analysis showed that the enzyme adsorption on lignin was highly relevant to these lignin structural characteristics. An obviously lower maximum enzyme adsorption capacity was observed on EL films (152.63–168.09 ng/cm²) compared to MWL films (196.71–224.73 ng/cm²). Furthermore, enzyme desorption on lignin films was determined. A significantly lower irreversible enzyme adsorption was observed on EL (75.40 ng/cm²) compared to MWL (137.35 ng/cm²). More importantly, two reconstructed lignin films were designed to investigate lignin assembly on enzyme adsorption. The results indicated that the presence of EL reduced irreversible enzyme adsorption on the reconstructed lignin films by 39.2–45.0%. CONCLUSIONS: Lignin structure determined the interaction between enzyme and lignins. A positive correlation was observed between molecular weight, the content of β-5 linkages, and enzyme adsorption on lignin. EL, which was more depolymerized and less condensed, had the lower enzyme adsorption of the two preparations tested. Additionally, the presence of EL reduced enzyme adsorption on reconstructed lignin films, perhaps through a mechanism involving the blocking of non-productive enzyme binding sites on the MWL. This could be the mechanism for the positive effects of EL on enzymatic hydrolysis.