Applied biochemistry and biotechnology

Empirical evaluation of inhibitory product, substrate, and enzyme effects during the enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass.

PMID 20177821


The cellulose hydrolysis kinetics during batch enzymatic saccharification are typified by a rapid initial rate that subsequently decays, resulting in incomplete conversion. Previous studies suggest that changes associated with the solution, substrate, or enzymes may be responsible. In this work, kinetic experiments were conducted to determine the relative magnitude of these effects. Pretreated corn stover (PCS) was used as a lignocellulosic substrate likely to be found in a commercial saccharification process, while Avicel and Kraft lignin were used to create model substrates. Glucose inhibition was observed by spiking the reaction slurry with glucose during initial-rate experiments. Increasing the glucose concentration from 7 to 48 g/L reduced the cellulose conversion rate by 94%. When product sugars were removed using ultrafiltration with a 10 kDa membrane, the glucose-based conversion increased by 9.5%. Reductions in substrate reactivity with conversion were compared directly by saccharifying PCS and Avicel substrates that had been pre-reacted to different conversions. Reaction of substrate with a pre-conversion of 40% resulted in about 40% reduction in the initial rate of saccharification, relative to fresh substrate with identical cellulose concentration. Overall, glucose inhibition and reduced substrate reactivity appear to be dominant factors, whereas minimal reductions of enzyme activity were observed.

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Lignin, alkali, low sulfonate content
Lignin, alkali