The enzymatic conversion of lignocellulosic material to sugars can provide a carbon source for the production of energy (fuels) and a wide range of renewable products. However, the efficiency of this conversion is impaired due to product (sugar) inhibition. Even though several studies investigate how to overcome this challenge, concepts on the process to conduct the hydrolysis are still scarce in literature. Aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) can be applied to design an extractive reaction due to their capacity to partition solutes to different phases in such a system. This work presents strategies on how to conduct extractive enzymatic hydrolysis in ATPS and how to explore the experimental results in order to design a feasible process. While only a limited number of ATPS was explored, the methods and strategies described could easily be applied to any further ATPS to be explored. We studied two promising ATPS as a subset of a previously high throughput screened large set of ATPS, providing two configurations of processes having the reaction in either the top phase or in the bottom phase. Enzymatic hydrolysis in these ATPS was performed to evaluate the partitioning of the substrate and the influence of solute partitioning on conversion. Because ATPS are able to partition inhibitors (sugar) between the phases, the conversion rate can be maintained. However, phase forming components should be selected to preserve the enzymatic activity. The experimental results presented here contribute to a feasible ATPS-based conceptual process design for the enzymatic conversion of lignocellulosic material.
- Sugarcane bagasse
- Product inhibition
- Enzymatic hydrolysis
- Extractive process
- Aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS)