Organosolv Lignin Properties and Their Effects on Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Yang Huang, Chenhuan Lai, Shaolong Sun, Qiang Yong, Brian K. Via, Maobing Tu


Lignin plays a crucial role in enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. To evaluate the correlation between lignin properties and its effects on enzymatic hydrolysis, five organosolv lignins (OLs) were isolated from woody biomass, and their physico-chemical properties and structural features were characterized. The effects of OL addition on enzymatic hydrolysis of microcrystalline cellulose (pure cellulose) were assessed first, which showed their disparate effects. The addition of three OLs increased the 72 h hydrolysis yield by 7.4% to 10.1%, while the addition of other two OLs reduced the 72 h hydrolysis yield by 3.2% to 20.4%. A strong correlation between the enzyme distribution coefficient on lignins and the 72 h hydrolysis yields indicated that the enzyme-lignin interaction played a significant role in determining the lignin effects. More importantly, a correlation between lignin properties (hydrophobicity, zeta potential, and particle size) and the enzyme distribution coefficient was established. Identifying the key lignin properties will give insights to reduce the lignin inhibition by altering the lignin properties, thereby promoting enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose.


Organosolv lignin; Enzymatic hydrolysis; Enzyme distribution coefficient; Hydrophobicity; Zeta potential; 2D HSQC NMR

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126