Biocatalysis of Industrial Kraft Pulps: Similarities and Differences between Hardwood and Softwood Pulps in Hydrolysis by Enzyme Complex of Penicillium verruculosum
Kraft pulp enzymatic hydrolysis is a promising method of woody biomass bioconversion. The influence of composition and structure of kraft fibers on their hydrolysis efficiency was evaluated while using four substrates, unbleached hardwood pulp (UHP), unbleached softwood pulp (USP), bleached hardwood pulp (BHP), and bleached softwood pulp (BSP). Hydrolysis was carried out with Penicillium verruculosum enzyme complex at a dosage of 10 filter paper units (FPU)/g pulp. The changes in fiber
... s in fiber morphology and structure were visualized while using optical and electron microscopy. Fiber cutting and swelling and quick xylan destruction were the main processes at the beginning of hydrolysis. The negative effect of lignin content was more pronounced for USP. Drying decreased the sugar yield of dissolved hydrolysis products for all kraft pulps. Fiber morphology, different xylan and mannan content, and hemicelluloses localization in kraft fibers deeply affected the hydrolyzability of bleached pulps. The introduction of additional xylobiase, mannanase, and cellobiohydrolase activities to enzyme mixture will further improve the hydrolysis of bleached pulps. A high efficiency of never-dried bleached pulp bioconversion was shown. At 10% substrate concentration, hydrolysates with more than 50 g/L sugar concentration were obtained. The bioconversion of never-dried BHP and BSP could be integrated into working kraft pulp mills.