Enhancing the Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Cellulosic Materials Using Simultaneous Ball Milling

  • Ursula Mais
  • Ali R. Esteghlalian
  • John N. Saddler
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
Part of the Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology book series (ABAB)


One of the limiting factors restricting the effective and efficient bioconversion of softwood-derived lignocellulosic residues is the recalcitrance of the substrate following pretreatment. Consequently, the ensuing enzymatic process requires relatively high enzyme loadings to produce monomeric carbohydrates that are readily fermentable by ethanologenic microorganisms. In an attempt to circumvent the need for larger enzyme loadings, a simultaneous physical and enzymatic hydrolysis treatment was evaluated. A ball-mill reactor was used as the digestion vessel, and the extent and rate of hydrolysis were monitored. Concurrently, enzyme adsorption profiles and the rate of conversion during the course of hydrolysis were monitored. α-Cellulose, employed as a model substrate, and SO2-impregnated steam-exploded Douglas-fir wood chips were assessed as the cellulosic substrates. The softwood-derived substrate was further posttreated with water and hot alkaline hydrogen peroxide to remove >90% of the original lignin. Experiments at different reaction conditions were evaluated, including substrate concentration, enzyme loading, reaction volumes, and number of ball beads employed during mechanical milling. It was apparent that the best conditions for the enzymatic hydrolysis of α-cellulose were attained using a higher number of beads, while the presence of air-liquid interface did not seem to affect the rate of saccharification. Similarly, when employing the lignocellulosic substrate, up to 100% hydrolysis could be achieved with a minimum enzyme loading (10 filter paper units/g of cellulose), at lower substrate concentrations and with a greater number of reaction beads during milling. It was apparent that the combined strategy of simultaneous ball milling and enzymatic hydrolysis could improve the rate of saccharification and/or reduce the enzyme loading required to attain total hydrolysis of the carbohydrate moieties.

Index Entries

Cellulose hydrolysis cellulose enzyme adsorption ball mill reactor softwood enzymatic hydrolysis steam explosion bioconversion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ursula Mais
    • 1
  • Ali R. Esteghlalian
    • 1
  • John N. Saddler
    • 1
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Products Biotechnology, Department of Wood ScienceUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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