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      Cellulose crystallinity index: measurement techniques and their impact on interpreting cellulase performance


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          Although measurements of crystallinity index (CI) have a long history, it has been found that CI varies significantly depending on the choice of measurement method. In this study, four different techniques incorporating X-ray diffraction and solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) were compared using eight different cellulose preparations. We found that the simplest method, which is also the most widely used, and which involves measurement of just two heights in the X-ray diffractogram, produced significantly higher crystallinity values than did the other methods. Data in the literature for the cellulose preparation used (Avicel PH-101) support this observation. We believe that the alternative X-ray diffraction (XRD) and NMR methods presented here, which consider the contributions from amorphous and crystalline cellulose to the entire XRD and NMR spectra, provide a more accurate measure of the crystallinity of cellulose. Although celluloses having a high amorphous content are usually more easily digested by enzymes, it is unclear, based on studies published in the literature, whether CI actually provides a clear indication of the digestibility of a cellulose sample. Cellulose accessibility should be affected by crystallinity, but is also likely to be affected by several other parameters, such as lignin/hemicellulose contents and distribution, porosity, and particle size. Given the methodological dependency of cellulose CI values and the complex nature of cellulase interactions with amorphous and crystalline celluloses, we caution against trying to correlate relatively small changes in CI with changes in cellulose digestibility. In addition, the prediction of cellulase performance based on low levels of cellulose conversion may not include sufficient digestion of the crystalline component to be meaningful.

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          Most cited references63

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          Information pertaining to enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose by noncomplexed cellulase enzyme systems is reviewed with a particular emphasis on development of aggregated understanding incorporating substrate features in addition to concentration and multiple cellulase components. Topics considered include properties of cellulose, adsorption, cellulose hydrolysis, and quantitative models. A classification scheme is proposed for quantitative models for enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose based on the number of solubilizing activities and substrate state variables included. We suggest that it is timely to revisit and reinvigorate functional modeling of cellulose hydrolysis, and that this would be highly beneficial if not necessary in order to bring to bear the large volume of information available on cellulase components on the primary applications that motivate interest in the subject. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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            Multiplicities in the resonances of chemically equivalent carbons, which appear in the solid-state carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of native celluloses, have been examined at high resolution. The patterns of variation are consistent with the existence of two distinct crystalline forms. One form is dominant in bacterial and algal celluloses, whereas the other is dominant in celluloses from higher plants.
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                Author and article information

                Biotechnol Biofuels
                Biotechnology for Biofuels
                BioMed Central
                24 May 2010
                : 3
                : 10
                [1 ]Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1617 Cole Blvd, Golden, CO 80401, USA
                [2 ]National Center for Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 1617 Cole Blvd, Golden, CO 80401, USA
                [3 ]Department of Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
                Copyright ©2010 Park et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.




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