Effect of alkaline pre-treatments on the synergistic enzymatic hydrolysis of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) bagasse by Clostridium cellulovorans XynA, ManA and ArfA

Beukes, Natasha (2011) Effect of alkaline pre-treatments on the synergistic enzymatic hydrolysis of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) bagasse by Clostridium cellulovorans XynA, ManA and ArfA. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




The continual increase in industrialization and global population has increased the dependency and demand on traditional fossil fuels for energy; however, there are limited amounts of fossil fuels available. The slow depletion of fossil fuels has sparked a fresh interest in renewable sources such as lignocellulose to produce a variety of biofuels, such as biogases (e.g. methane), bioethanol, biodiesel and a variety of other solvents and economically valuable by-products. Agricultural crop wastes produced in surplus are typically lignocellulosic in composition and thus partially recalcitrant to enzymatic degradation. The recalcitrant nature of plant biomass and the inability to obtain complete enzymatic hydrolysis has led to the establishment of various pre-treatment strategies. Alkaline pre-treatments increase the accessibility of the exposed surface to enzymatic hydrolysis through the removal of acetyl and uronic acid substituents on hemicellulose. Unlike the use of steam and acid pre-treatments, alkaline pre-treatments solubilize lignin and a small percentage of the hemicellulose, increasing enzyme accessibility and thus the hydrolysis of lignocellulose. The majority of Clostridium cellulovorans associated enzyme synergy studies have been devoted to an understanding of the cellulolytic and hemi-cellulolytic degradation of plant cell walls. However, little is known about the effect of various physical and chemical pre-treatments on the synergistic enzymatic degradation of plant biomass and possible depolymerization of plant cell walls. This study investigates the use of slake lime, sodium hydroxide and ammonium hydroxide to pre-treat sugarcane bagasse under mild conditions and elucidates potentially important synergistic associations between the C. cellulovorans enzymes for the enhanced degradation of lignocellulose. The primary aims of the study were addressed using of a variety of techniques. This included suitable vector constructs for the expression and purification of recombinant C. cellulovorans enzymes, identification of the effects of various pre-treatments on enzyme synergy, and identification of the resultant reducing sugars and phenolic compounds (released during the pre-treatment of the bagasse). This study also made use of physical and chemical pre-treatment methods, protein purification using affinity, high performance liquid and thin layer chromatography, mass spectrometry, sodium dodecyl sulphate and fluorophore-assisted polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (FACE) , enzymatic degradation and synergy studies with various substrates indirectly using the 3, 4-dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) reducing sugar assay. From this investigation, the following conclusions were made: alkaline pre-treatment successfully solublised, redistributed and removed lignin from the bagasse, increasing the digestibility of the substrates. In summary, the most effective pre-treatment employed 0.114 M ammonium hydroxide / gram bagasse at 70°C for 36 hours, followed by hydrolysis with an enzyme cocktail containing 25% ManA and 75% XynA. This increased the production of sugars approximately 13-fold. Analysis of the sugars produced by the synergistic hydrolysis of sugarcane bagasse (SCB) indicated the presence of xylose, indicating that the enzymes are potentially bifunctional under certain conditions. This study indicated that the use of mild pre-treatment conditions sufficiently removed a large portion of lignin without affecting the hemicellulose moiety of the SCB. This facilitated the potential use of the hemicellulose component for the production of valuable products (e.g. xylitol) in addition to the production of bioethanol. Thus, the potential use of additional components of holocellulose may generate an additional biotechnological benefit and allow a certain degree of flexibility in the biofuel industry, depending on consumer and industrial needs.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sugarcane, Biotechnology, Lignocellulose, Renewable energy sources, Hydrolysis, Enzymes
Subjects:Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD241 Organic chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
ID Code:2110
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:13 Oct 2011 08:01
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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