, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 1865–1881 | Cite as

Cellulose fiber size defines efficiency of enzymatic hydrolysis and impacts degree of synergy between endo- and exoglucanases

  • Vanessa O. A. Pellegrini
  • Amanda Bernardes
  • Camila A. Rezende
  • Igor Polikarpov
Original Paper


An interplay between cellulases is fundamental in biomass saccharification. Here, the synergistic action of Trichoderma harzianum Cel7A and Cel7B on two cellulosic substrates: bacterial cellulose (BC) and a much more heterogeneous filter paper (FP) was investigated by determining their saccharification yields and by analyzing both the released soluble products and the insoluble reducing ends formed in the process. Furthermore, morphological changes of the substrates were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy. Glycoside hydrolase family 7 (GH7) enzymes introduce uniform changes in BC, whereas in FP they preferentially consume thin microfibrils rather than thicker paper fibers. Thus, the size effect, which leads to a smaller surface area per unit of substrate mass for thicker fibers, seems to play a crucial role in higher enzymatic hydrolysis efficiency of BC as compared to FP. These results demonstrate that the morphology-dependent effects could be essential for the industrial breakdown of cellulose-rich plant biomass.


Trichoderma harzianum Cel7A Cel7B Synergism Scanning electron microscopy 



We would like to acknowledge support of the Brazilian funding agencies FAPESP via grants 2010/18773-8, 2012/22802-9, 2015/13684-0 and 2016/13602-7 and CNPq via grants 472523/2013-9 and 405191/2015-4. The electron microscopy work has been performed using the Quanta 650 microscope at LME/LNNano/CNPEM, Campinas.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10570_2018_1700_MOESM1_ESM.docx (428 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 427 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and Interdisciplinary Science, São Carlos Institute of PhysicsUniversity of São PauloSão CarlosBrazil
  2. 2.Institute of ChemistryUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil

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