Corn bran is mainly made up of the pericarp of corn kernels and is a byproduct stream resulting from the wet milling step in corn starch processing. Through statistic modeling this study examined the optimization of pretreatment of corn bran for enzymatic hydrolysis. A low pH pretreatment (pH 2, 150°C, 65min) boosted the enzymatic release of xylose and glucose and maximized biomass solubilization. With more acidic pretreatment followed by enzymatic hydrolysis the total xylose release was maximized (at pH 1.3) reaching ∼50% by weight of the original amount present in destarched corn bran, but the enzyme catalyzed xylose release was maximal after pretreatment at approx. pH 2. The total glucose release peaked after pretreatment of approx. pH 1.5 with an enzymatic release of approx. 68% by weight of the original amounts present in destarched corn bran. For arabinose the enzymatic release was negatively affected by the acidic pretreatment as labile arabinosyl-linkages were presumably hydrolysed directly during the pretreatment. A maximum of 60% arabinose release was achieved directly from the optimal (acidic) pretreatment. The total content of diferulic acids, supposedly involved in the cross-linking of the arabinoxylan polymers, decreased by both alkaline and acidic pretreatment pH, with the loss by alkaline pretreatments being highest. No direct correlation between the enzymatic release of xylose and the content of diferulic acids in the substrate could be verified. On the contrary the enzymatic release of xylose was significantly correlated to the total release of arabinose, indicating that the degree of arabinosyl-substitutions on the xylan backbone is an essential parameter for enzymatic hydrolysis of corn bran arabinoxylan.
New Biotechnology, 2011, Vol 28, Issue 2, p. 125-135