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Deficiency of Cellulase Activity Measurements for Enzyme Evaluation

Pryor, Scott W., Nahar, Nurun
Applied biochemistry and biotechnology 2010 v.162 no.6 pp. 1737-1750
Panicum virgatum, ammonia, beta-glucosidase, biomass, cellobiose, cellulose, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, enzymatic hydrolysis, enzyme activity, ethanol, fermentation, glucose, hydrolysis, saccharification, soaking, sulfuric acid
Switchgrass was used as a model feedstock to determine the influence of pretreatment conditions and biomass quality on enzymatic hydrolysis using different enzyme products. Dilute sulfuric acid and soaking in aqueous ammonia pretreatments were used to produce biomass with varied levels of hemicellulose and lignin sheathing. Pretreated switchgrass solids were tested with simple enzymatic hydrolysis and simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) with three commercial enzyme products: Accellerase 1000 (Genencor), Spezyme CP (Genencor)/Novozyme 188 (Novozymes), and Celluclast/Novozyme 188 (Novozymes). Enzymes were loaded on a common activity basis (FPU/g cellulose and CBU/g cellulose). Despite identical enzyme loadings, glucose yields were significantly different for both acid and alkaline pretreatments but differences diminished as hydrolysis progressed for acid-pretreated biomass. Cellobiose concentrations in Accellerase treatments indicated an initial β-glucosidase limitation that became less significant over time. SSF experiments showed that differences in glucose and ethanol yields could not be attributed to enzyme product inhibition. Yield discrepancies of glucose or ethanol in acid pretreatment, alkaline pretreatment, and acid pretreatment/SSF were as much as 15%, 19%, and 5%. These results indicate that standardized protocols for measuring enzyme activity may not be adequate for assessing activity using pretreated biomass substrates.