Model-Based Fed-Batch for High-Solids Enzymatic Cellulose Hydrolysis

David B. Hodge, M. Nazmul Karim, Daniel J. Schell, James D. McMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus Citations


While many kinetic models have been developed for the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose, few have been extensively applied for process design, optimization, or control. High-solids operation of the enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose is motivated by both its operation decreasing capital costs and increasing product concentration and hence separation costs. This work utilizes both insights obtained from experimental work and kinetic modeling to develop an optimization strategy for cellulose saccharification at insoluble solids levels greater than 15% (w/w), where mixing in stirred tank reactors (STRs) becomes problematic. A previously developed model for batch enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose was modified to consider the effects of feeding in the context of fed-batch operation. By solving the set of model differential equations, a feeding profile was developed to maintain the insoluble solids concentration at a constant or manageable level throughout the course of the reaction. Using this approach, a stream of relatively concentrated solids (and cellulase enzymes) can be used to increase the final sugar concentration within the reactor without requiring the high initial levels of insoluble solids that would be required if the operation were performed in batch mode. Experimental application in bench-scale STRs using a feed stream of dilute acid-pretreated corn stover solids and cellulase enzymes resulted in similar cellulose conversion profiles to those achieved in batch shake-flask reactors where temperature control issues are mitigated. Final cellulose conversions reached approximately 80% of theoretical for fed-batch STRs fed to reach a cumulative solids level of 25% (w/w) initial insoluble solids.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)88-107
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-39396


  • Biomass
  • Cellulase
  • Corn stover
  • Fed-batch
  • High-solids saccharification
  • Optimal control


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