, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 711–722 | Cite as

The impact of cell wall acetylation on corn stover hydrolysis by cellulolytic and xylanolytic enzymes

  • Michael J. Selig
  • William S. Adney
  • Michael E. Himmel
  • Stephen R. Decker


Analysis of variously pretreated corn stover samples showed neutral to mildly acidic pretreatments were more effective at removing xylan from corn stover and more likely to maintain the acetyl to xylopyranosyl ratios present in untreated material than were alkaline treatments. Retention of acetyl groups in the residual solids resulted in greater resistance to hydrolysis by endoxylanase alone, although the synergistic combination of endoxylanase and acetyl xylan esterase enzymes permitted higher xylan conversions to be observed. Acetyl xylan esterase alone did little to improve hydrolysis by cellulolytic enzymes, although a direct relationship was observed between the enzymatic removal of acetyl groups and improvements in the enzymatic conversion of xylan present in substrates. In all cases, effective xylan conversions were found to significantly improve glucan conversions achievable by cellulolytic enzymes. Additionally, acetyl and xylan removal not only enhanced the respective initial rates of xylan and glucan conversion, but also the overall extents of conversion. This work emphasizes the necessity for xylanolytic enzymes during saccharification processes and specifically for the optimization of acetyl esterase and xylanase synergies when biomass processes include milder pretreatments, such as hot water or sulfite steam explosion.


Lignocellulose Acetyl Pretreatment Cellulase Xylanase Acetyl xylan esterase 



This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of the Biomass Program under contract No. DE-AC36-99GO10337 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Selig
    • 1
  • William S. Adney
    • 1
  • Michael E. Himmel
    • 1
  • Stephen R. Decker
    • 1
  1. 1.National Renewable Energy LaboratoryChemical and Biosciences CenterGoldenUSA

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