A comprehensive picture of structural changes of cellulosic biomass during enzymatic hydrolysis is essential for a better understanding of enzymatic actions and development of more efficient enzymes. In this study, a suite of analytical techniques including sum frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction (XRD), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were employed for lignin-free model biomass samples - Avicel, bleached softwood, and bacterial cellulose - to find correlations between the decrease in hydrolysis rate over time and the structural or chemical changes of biomass during the hydrolysis reaction. The results showed that the decrease in hydrolysis rate over time appears to correlate with the irreversible deposition of non-cellulosic species (either reaction side products or denatured enzymes, or both) on the cellulosic substrate surface. The crystallinity, degree of polymerization, and meso-scale packing of cellulose do not seem to positively correlate with the decrease in hydrolysis rate observed for all three substrates tested in this study. It was also found that the cellulose Iα component of the bacterial cellulose is preferentially hydrolyzed by the enzyme than the cellulose Iβ component.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes