Accelerating enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch and cellulose using cationic polymers
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The effect of cationic polymers on the rate of hydrolysis of cornstarch and cellulosic feedstocks was investigated. Poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (p-DADMAC) and cationic polyacrylamides (c-PAMs) were used in the study. Experiments were performed to analyze the effect of both p-DADMAC and c-PAM on cornstarch liquefaction. Measurements were also made on the hydrolysis rates of bleached softwood to determine the mechanism through which cationic polymers accelerate cellulosic hydrolysis. Additional experiments were performed to study the effect of cationic polymers on different lignocellulosic feedstocks such as sludge, wheat straw and brown pulp. Studies on cornstarch hydrolysis showed that p-DADMAC increases the rate of α-amylase-induced cornstarch liquefaction, thereby reducing the enzyme dose necessary for optimal hydrolysis. Studies on bleached softwood showed that cationic polyelectrolytes increase the cellulase-induced hydrolysis rates of bleached wood fiber. It was shown that the polymer associates mainly with the amorphous region of fiber and acts principally on endoglucanase. Both c-PAM and p-DADMAC increased the glucose production of brown pulp at lower kappa numbers. Overall, cationic polymers enhanced the production of glucose from cornstarch and different cellulosic feedstocks. The polymer can reduce the enzyme dosage depending on the conditions and feedstocks used.