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Biotechnol Biofuels. 2016 Jun 3;9:118. doi: 10.1186/s13068-016-0531-0. eCollection 2016.

Adsorption and mechanism of cellulase enzymes onto lignin isolated from corn stover pretreated with liquid hot water.

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State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100 Shandong China.



In the bioconversion of lignocellulosic substrates, the adsorption behavior of cellulase onto lignin has a negative effect on enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose, decreasing glucose production during enzymatic hydrolysis, thus decreasing the yield of fermentation and the production of useful products. Understanding the interaction between lignin and cellulase is necessary to optimize the components of cellulase mixture, genetically engineer high-efficiency cellulase, and reduce cost of bioconversion. Most lignin is not removed during liquid hot water (LHW) pretreatment, and the characteristics of lignin in solid substrate are also changed. To understand the interactions between cellulase and lignin, this study investigated the change in the characteristics of lignin obtained from corn stover, as well as the behavior of cellulase adsorption onto lignin, under various severities of LHW pretreatment.


LHW pretreatment removed most hemicellulose and some lignin in corn stover, as well as improved enzymatic digestibility of corn stover. After LHW pretreatment, the molecular weight of lignin obviously increased, whereas its polydispersity decreased and became more negative. The hydrophobicity and functional groups in lignin also changed. Adsorption of cellulase from Penicillium oxalicum onto lignin isolated from corn stover was enhanced after LHW pretreatment, and increased under increasing pretreatment severity. Different adsorption behaviors were observed in different lignin samples and components of cellulase mixtures, even in different cellobiohydrolases (CBHs), endo-beta-1, 4-glucanases (EGs). The greatest reduction in enzyme activity caused by lignin was observed in CBH, followed by that in xylanase and then in EG and β-Glucosidase (BGL). The adsorption behavior exerted different effects on subsequent enzymatic hydrolysis of various biomass substrates. Hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions may be important factors affecting different adsorption behaviors between lignin and cellulase.


LHW pretreatment changed the characteristics of the remaining lignin in corn stover, thus affected the adsorption behavior of lignin toward cellulase. For different protein components in cellulase solution from P. oxalicum, electrostatic action was a main factor influencing the adsorption of EG and xylanase onto lignin in corn stover, while hydrophobicity affected the adsorption of CBH and BGL onto lignin.


Adsorption; Cellulase; Lignin; Liquid hot water pretreatment

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