Gernot Jäger, Zhuojun Wu, Kerstin Garschhammer, Philip Engel, Tobias Klement, Roberto Rinaldi, Antje Spieß, Jochen Büchs:
Practical screening of purified cellobiohydrolases and endoglucanases with alpha-cellulose and specification of hydrodynamics
Biotechnology for biofuels, 2010, 3:18
BACKGROUND: It is important to generate biofuels and society must be weaned from its dependency on fossil fuels. In order to produce biofuels, lignocellulose is pretreated and the resulting cellulose is hydrolyzed by cellulases such as cellobiohydrolases (CBH) and endoglucanases (EG). Until now, the biofuel industry has usually applied impractical celluloses to screen for cellulases capable of degrading naturally occurring, insoluble cellulose. This study investigates how these cellulases adsorb and hydrolyze insoluble alpha-cellulose - considered to be a more practical substrate which mimics the alkaline-pretreated biomass used in biorefineries. Moreover, this study investigates how hydrodynamics affects cellulase adsorption and activity onto alpha-cellulose. RESULTS: First, the cellulases CBH I, CBH II, EG I and EG II were purified from Trichoderma reesei and CBH I and EG I were utilized in order to study and model the adsorption isotherms (Langmuir) and kinetics (pseudo-first-order). Second, the adsorption kinetics and cellulase activities were studied under different hydrodynamic conditions, including liquid mixing and particle suspension. Third, in order to compare alpha-cellulose with three typically used celluloses, the exact cellulase activities towards all four substrates were measured. It was found that, using alpha-cellulose, the adsorption models fitted to the experimental data and yielded parameters comparable to those for filter paper. Moreover, it was determined that higher shaking frequencies clearly improved the adsorption of cellulases onto alpha-cellulose and thus bolstered their activity. Complete suspension of alpha-cellulose particles was the optimal operating condition in order to ensure efficient cellulase adsorption and activity. Finally, all four purified cellulases displayed comparable activities only on insoluble alpha-cellulose. CONCLUSIONS: alpha-Cellulose is an excellent substrate to screen for CBHs and EGs. This current investigation shows in detail, for the first time, the adsorption of purified cellulases onto alpha-cellulose, the effect of hydrodynamics on cellulase adsorption and the correlation between the adsorption and the activity of cellulases at different hydrodynamic conditions. Complete suspension of the substrate has to be ensured in order to optimize the cellulase attack. In the future, screenings should be conducted with alpha-cellulose so that proper cellulases are selected to best hydrolyze the real alkaline-pretreated biomass used in biorefineries.