The Role of Ester Groups in Resistance of Plant Cell Wall Polysaccharides to Enzymatic Hydrolysis

K. Grohmann, D. J. Mitchell, M. E. Himmel, B. E. Dale, H. A. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus Citations


Xylan backbones in native plant cell walls are extensively acety-lated. Previously, no direct investigations as to their role in cellulolytic enzyme resistance have been done, though indirect results point to their importance. An in vitro deesterification of aspen wood and wheat straw has been completed using hydroxylamine solutions. Yields of 90% acetyl ester removal for both materials have been accomplished, with little disruption of other fractions (i.e., lignin). Apparently, as the xylan becomes increasingly deacetylated, it becomes 5-7 times more digestible. This renders the cellulose fraction more accessible, and 2-3 times more digestible. This effect levels off near an acetyl removal of 75%, where other resistances become limiting.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)45-61
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology - Part A Enzyme Engineering and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

Bibliographical note

Work performed by the Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colorado and Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • ACNR/JA-230-11327


  • cellulase
  • ester groups
  • pretreatment
  • Xylan


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