Environmental Biotechnology Original Paper

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 620-625

First online:

Kinetics of the extracellular cellulases of Clostridium thermocellum acting on pretreated mixed hardwood and Avicel

  • T. D. BernardezAffiliated withThayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
  • , K. A. LyfordAffiliated withThayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College
  • , L. R. LyndAffiliated withThayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College


Initial hydrolysis rates were examined for mixed hardwood flour pretreated with 1% sulfuric acid for 9 s at 220 °C (PTW220) and Avicel. Linear rates were observed for fractional conversion relative to the theoretical up to 0.2 for PTW220 and 0.4 for Avicel. Initial rates were essentially unaffected by the presence of growth medium components over a range of pH values. Avicel-hydrolyzing activity was inhibited linearly by ethanol, with a 50% rate reduction at 8 wt.% ethanol. Rate saturation with either substrate or enzyme was observed in a manner qualitatively consistent with previously reported adsorption data. Although somewhat less reactive than Avicel at very low enzyme loadings, much higher reaction rates were observed for PTW220 at moderate and high enzyme loading because of its higher capacity to bind cellulase. At equal subtrate concentrations (as potential glucose) and fractional substrate coverage of 0.09, the initial rate of pretreated wood hydrolysis exceeded that of Avicel by 15-fold. For fractional substrate coverage values up to 0.09 (the maximum value achieved for PTW220), the initial rate was proportional to adsorbed enzyme for PTW220. However, the rate per adsorbed enzyme declined sharply with increasing fractional coverage for Avicel hydrolysis.