Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering


Wen Zhou


A novel mechanistic model for the saccharification of cellulose and hemicellulose is utilized to predict the products of hydrolysis over a range of enzyme loadings and times. The mechanistic model considers the morphology of the substrate and the kinetics of enzymes to optimize enzyme concentrations for the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicellulose simultaneously. Substrates are modeled based on their fraction of accessible sites, glucan content, xylan content, and degree of polymerizations. This enzyme optimization model takes into account the kinetics of six core enzymes for lignocellulose hydrolysis: endoglucanase I (EG1), cellobiohydrolase I (CBH1), cellobiohydrolase II (CBH2), and endo-xylanase (EX) from Trichoderma reesei; β-glucosidase (BG), and β-xylosidase (BX) from Aspergillus niger. The model employs the synergistic action of these enzymes to predict optimum enzyme concentrations for hydrolysis of Avicel and ammonia fiber explosion (AFEX) pretreated corn stover. Glucan, glucan + xylan, glucose and glucose + xylose conversion predictions are given over a range of mass fractions of enzymes, and a range of enzyme loadings. Simulation results are compared with optimizations using statistically designed experiments. BG and BX are modeled in solution at later time points to predict the effect on glucose conversion and xylose conversion.