ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Enzymatic hydrolysis, the rate limiting step in the process development for biofuel, is always hampered by its low sugar concentration. High solid enzymatic saccharification could solve this problem but has several other drawbacks such as low rate of reaction. In the present study we have attempted to enhance the concentration of sugars in enzymatic hydrolysate of delignified Prosopis juliflora, using a fed-batch enzymatic hydrolysis approach. RESULTS: The enzymatic hydrolysis was carried out at elevated solid loading up to 20% (w/v) and a comparison between kinetics of batch and fed-batch enzymatic hydrolysis was carried out using kinetic regimes. Under batch mode, the actual sugar concentration values at 20% initial substrate consistency were found deviated from the predicted values and the maximum sugar concentration obtained was 80.78 g/L, which on using fed-batch strategy was enhanced to the final sugar concentration of 127 g/L. The batch and fed-batch enzymatic hydrolysates were fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and ethanol production of 34.78 g/L and 52.83 g/L, respectively, were achieved. Furthermore, model simulations showed that higher insoluble solids in the feed resulted in both smaller reactor volume and shorter residence time. CONCLUSION: Fed-batch enzymatic hydrolysis is an efficient procedure for enhancing the sugar concentration in the hydrolysate. Restricting the process to suitable kinetic regimes could result in higher conversion rates.
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