Changes in submicrometer structure of enzymatically hydrolyzed microcrystalline cellulose

P. A. Penttilä (Corresponding Author), Aniko Varnai, K. Leppänen, M. Peura, A. Kallonen, P. Jääskeläinen, J. Lucenius, J. Ruokolainen, Matti Siika-aho, Liisa Viikari, R. Serimaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


To understand the limitations occurring during enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulosic materials in renewable energy production, we used wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), X-ray microtomography, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to characterize submicrometer changes in the structure of microcrystalline cellulose (Avicel) digested with the Trichoderma reesei enzyme system. The microtomography measurements showed a clear decrease in particle size in scale of tens of micrometers. In all the TEM pictures, similar elongated and partly ramified structures were observed, independent of the hydrolysis time. The SAXS results of rewetted samples suggested a slight change in the structure in scale of 10−20 nm, whereas the WAXS results confirmed that the degree of crystallinity and the crystal sizes remained unchanged. This indicates that the enzymes act on the surface of cellulose bundles and are unable to penetrate into the nanopores of wet cellulose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1117
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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