Redox processes acidify and decarboxylate steam-pretreated lignocellulosic biomass and are modulated by LPMO and catalase
Journal article, 2018

Background: The bioconversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks to ethanol is being commercialised, but further process development is required to improve their economic feasibility. Efficient saccharification of lignocellulose to fermentable sugars requires oxidative cleavage of glycosidic linkages by lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs). However, a proper understanding of the catalytic mechanism of this enzyme class and the interaction with other redox processes associated with the saccharification of lignocellulose is still lacking. The in-use stability of LPMO-containing enzyme cocktails is increased by the addition of catalase implying that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is generated in the slurry during incubation. Therefore, we sought to characterize the effects of enzymatic and abiotic sources of H2O2on lignocellulose hydrolysis to identify parameters that could improve this process. Moreover, we studied the abiotic redox reactions of steam-pretreated wheat straw as a function of temperature and dry-matter (DM) content. Results: Abiotic reactions in pretreated wheat straw consume oxygen, release carbon dioxide (CO2) to the slurry, and decrease the pH. The magnitude of these reactions increased with temperature and with DM content. The presence of LPMO during saccharification reduced the amount of CO2liberated, while the effect on pH was insignificant. Catalase led to increased decarboxylation through an unknown mechanism. Both in situ-generated and added H2O2caused a decrease in pH. Conclusions: Abiotic redox processes similar to those that occur in natural water-logged environments also affect the saccharification of pretreated lignocellulose. Heating of the lignocellulosic material and adjustment of pH trigger rapid oxygen consumption and acidification of the slurry. In industrial settings, it will be of utmost importance to control these processes. LPMOs interact with the surrounding redox compounds and redirect abiotic electron flow from decarboxylating reactions to fuel the oxidative cleavage of glycosidic bonds in cellulose.


Wheat straw


Hydrogen peroxide

pH/proton activity



Ausra Peciulyte

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Louise Samuelsson

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Lisbeth Olsson

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

K. C. McFarland

Novozymes, Inc.

Jesper Frickmann

Novozymes, Inc.

Lars Østergård

Novozymes A/S

Rune Halvorsen

Novozymes A/S

Brian R. Scott

Novozymes, Inc.

Katja Salomon Johansen

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Industrial Biotechnology

Novozymes A/S

University of Copenhagen

Biotechnology for Biofuels

1754-6834 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 1 165

Subject Categories

Chemical Process Engineering

Other Chemical Engineering

Other Chemistry Topics



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7/3/2018 2