AIMS Bioengineering, 2016, 3(4): 441-453. doi: 10.3934/bioeng.2016.4.441

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The effects of ethanol on hydrolysis of cellulose and pretreated barley straw by some commercial cellulolytic enzyme products

1 Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, 19038, USA
2 National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, District of Columbia, 20024, USA
3 DuPont Engineering Research and Technology, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803, USA

The effect of ethanol at levels ranging from 2.5% v/v to 15% v/v on the activities of two recently developed commercial cellulosic biomass hydrolytic enzyme products, Accellerase® 1500 and Accellerase® XY, was investigated. The substrates used for study of the effect of ethanol on Accellerase® 1500 included α-cellulose, cellobiose and barley straw pretreated by the soaking in aqueous ammonia method. The initial rates of glucose production and final glucose concentrations obtained at 48 h of hydrolysis were used as the response factors. To study the effect of ethanol on Accellerase® XY, beechwood xylan and the pretreated barley straw were used as substrates. The response factors included the initial rates of xylose production and final xylose concentrations obtained at 48 h of hydrolysis. It was found that ethanol acted as either activator or inhibitor depending on its concentration and the type of substrate used. At 10% v/v, which is expected to be the final concentration of ethanol in a commercial cellulosic biomass-based process, ethanol acted as an inhibitor in all cases. However, even at this ethanol level, both commercial enzymes still retained at least about 50% of their activities.
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