Effect of Cellulose Reducing Ends and Primary Hydroxyl Groups Modifications on Cellulose-Cellulase Interactions and Cellulose Hydrolysis

Rajeev Kumar, Samarthya Bhagia, Ashutosh Mittal, Charles Wyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cellulose reducing ends are believed to play a vital role in the cellulose recalcitrance to enzymatic conversion. However, their role in insoluble cellulose accessibility and hydrolysis is not clear. Thus, in this study, reducing ends of insoluble cellulose derived from various sources were modified by applying reducing and/or oxidizing agents. The effects of cellulose reducing ends modification on cellulose reducing ends, cellulose structure, and cellulose accessibility to cellulase were evaluated along with the impact on cellulose hydrolysis with complete as well purified cellulase components. Sodium borohydride (NaBH4) reduction and sodium chlorite-acetic acid (SC/AA) oxidation were able to modify more than 90% and 60% of the reducing ends, respectively, while the bicinchoninic acid (BCA) reagent applied for various cycles oxidized cellulose reducing ends to various extents. X-ray diffractograms of the treated solids showed that these treatments did not change the cellulose crystalline structure and the change in crystallinity index was insignificant. Surprisingly, it was found that the cellulose reducing ends modification, either through selective NaBH4 reduction or BCA oxidation, had a negligible impact on cellulose accessibility as well on cellulose hydrolysis rates or final conversions with complete cellulase at loadings as low as 0.5 mg protein/g cellulose. In fact, in contrast to what is traditionally believed, modifications of cellulose reducing ends by these two methods had no apparent impact on cellulose conversion with purified cellulase components and their synergy. However, SC/AA oxidation resulted in significant drop in cellulose conversion (10%-50%) with complete as well purified cellulase components. Nonetheless, further research revealed that the cause for drop in cellulose conversion for the SC/AA oxidation case was due to primary hydroxyl groups (PHGs) oxidation and not the oxidation of reducing ends. Furthermore, it was found that the PHGs modification affects cellulose accessibility and slows the cellulase uptake as well resulting in significant drop in cellulose conversions.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-90323

Keywords

  • accessibility
  • cellulase
  • cellulose
  • hydrolysis
  • primary hydroxyl groups
  • reducing ends

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