Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vol.187, No.2, 461-473, 2019
Alternative Low-Cost Additives to Improve the Saccharification of Lignocellulosic Biomass
A potential strategy to mitigate problems related to unproductive adsorption of enzymes onto lignin during the saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass is the addition of lignin-blocking agents to the hydrolysis reaction medium. However, there is a clear need to find more cost-effective additives for use in large-scale processes. Here, selected alternative low-cost additives were evaluated in the saccharification of steam-exploded sugarcane bagasse using a commercial enzymatic cocktail. The addition of soybean protein, tryptone, peptone, and maize zein had positive effects on glucose release during the hydrolysis, with gains of up to 36% when 8% (w/w) soybean protein was used. These improvements were superior to those obtained using bovine serum albumin (BSA), a much more expensive protein that has been widely reported for such an application. Moreover, addition of soybean protein led to a saving of 48h in the hydrolysis, corresponding to a 66% decrease in the reactor operation time required. In order to achieve the same hydrolysis yield without the soybean additive, the enzyme loading would need to be increased by 50%. FTIR spectroscopy and nitrogen elemental analysis revealed that the additives probably acted to reduce unproductive binding of cellulolytic enzymes onto the lignin portion of the sugarcane bagasse.