Non-catalytic proteins as promising detoxifiers in lignocellulosic biomass pretreatment: unveiling the mechanism for enhanced enzymatic hydrolysis

Meysam Madadi, Guojie Song, Vijai Kumar Gupta, Mortaza Aghbashloh, Chihe Sun, Fubao Sun, Meisam Tabatabaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dilute acid (DA) pretreatment of biomass generates multiple inhibitory compounds within the pretreated hydrolysates. These compounds subsequently contribute to the formation of pseudo-lignin on the surface of the substrate, consequently impeding the efficiency of enzymatic digestibility. To detoxify the DA pretreated hydrolysates, post-incubation with non-catalytic proteins (amaranth protein, AP; soy protein, SP; bovine serum albumin, BSA) was performed in the present study. The enzymatic digestibility of DA-pretreated substrates was increased from 40.0% (without non-catalytic proteins) to 64.9, 53.8, and 56.4%, respectively, in the presence of AP (50 mg g−1), SP (65 mg g−1), and BSA (50 mg g−1). The post-incubation of pretreated substrates with non-catalytic proteins led to high hydrophobicity, contact angle, and accessibility, likely due to less formation of pseudo-lignin. Furthermore, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis revealed that AP, SP, and BSA could lower the inhibitor concentrations in the pretreated hydrolysates by 39–100%, 5–100%, and 3–100%, respectively. The detoxification of the pretreated hydrolysates by AP demonstrated superior effectiveness compared to SP and BSA. To assess the affinity between inhibitors and non-catalytic proteins, surface plasmon resonance analysis was conducted, revealing the following affinity rates: AP (18.65 nM) > SP (17.04 nM) > BSA (16.87 nM). Additionally, molecular docking analysis revealed numerous molecular binding sites (i.e., hydrogen, polar, acidic, basic, and greasy contacts) with strong binding affinity ranging from −36.17 to −76.98 kcal mol−1 between the inhibitors and the amino acids of AP. Thus, this study highlights the potential application of AP as a cost-effective strategy for achieving a viable biorefinery. Also, the findings provide valuable insights that can be utilized to advance the development of (hemi)cellulases that exhibit enhanced resistance to lignin and inhibitors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGreen Chemistry
Early online date13 Jul 2023
Publication statusFirst published - 13 Jul 2023


  • Pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry


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