Chapter 4: Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Jonathan J. Stickel, Richard T. Elander, James D. MCmillan, Roman Brunecky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Scopus Citations


Enzymatic hydrolysis is the central technology in a prototypical biochemical conversion process. Preceded by pretreatment and followed by microbial or inorganic catalyst conversion, enzymatic hydrolysis is the process that liberates monomeric sugars from the structural carbohydrates, cellulose, and hemicellulose in lignocellulosic biomass. In order for a biochemical conversion process to be economically viable, enzymatic hydrolysis must produce sugars at high yields and at reasonable conversion rates using a minimum of input energy and chemicals (including hydrolytic enzymes). This chapter reviews research and development efforts to improve enzymatic hydrolysis technology, with particular emphasis on enzyme systems, operation at high solids concentrations, process modeling, and process integration. The development of more active enzyme systems, improved biomass conversion process technology and integration, and more efficient enzyme production systems (as reviewed in Chapter 5) have dramatically improved the economics of enzymatic hydrolysis over the past decade, and commercial biorefineries incorporating enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass are anticipated within the next few years.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationBioprocessing of Renewable Resources to Commodity Bioproducts
EditorsV. S. Bisaris, A. Kondo
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781118845394
ISBN (Print)9781118175835
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5100-58127


  • Cellulase
  • Cellulosic feedstock
  • Hemicellulase
  • High solids
  • Process integration
  • Saccharification


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