Hydrolysis of Brewers' Spent Grain by Carbohydrate Degrading Enzymes

P. Forssell, H. Kontkanen, H.A. Schols, S.W.A. Hinz, V.G.H. Eijsink, J. Treimo, J.A. Robertson, K.W. Waldron, C.B. Faulds, J. Buchert

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77 Citations (Scopus)


In this work four commercial cellulase-hemicellulase mixtures with different activity profiles were used for solubilization of carbohydrates from brewers' spent grain (BSG). After the enzyme treatment, both the solubilised fraction and the unhydrolysed residue were characterized. Treatment with 5,000 nkat/g xylanase for 5 h at 50 degrees C resulted in the solubilisation of 13-14% of the BSG dry weight as monosaccharides. This corresponded to the solubilisation of 26-28% of the original carbohydrates and 30-34% of original arabinoxylans, depending on the enzyme cocktail used. The relatively low hydrolysis level indicates that the majority of the BSG biomass is rather recalcitrant towards the cellulose-hemicellulase enzyme mixtures applied in this study. The enzyme activity profile had a crucial impact on the chemistry of the oligosaccharides produced through the solubilisation of BSG. The presence of feruloyl esterase (FAE) activity in the enzyme cocktail resulted in the production of free ferulic acid, arabinoxylo-oligosaccharides and their corresponding monomers. However, when the enzyme mixture was devoid of FAE activity, ferulic acid was still bound to the oligosaccharides. The unhydrolysed fraction was still found to contain over 40% of carbohydrates after enzymatic treatment despite the extensive enzyme dosages used. The protein fraction remained largely unaffected (i.e. insoluble) by the carbohydrate-disrupting enzyme treatments. In addition to the recalcitrant carbohydrates, the residue was enriched with lignin and lipid type structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-314
JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • enzymatic-hydrolysis
  • ferulic acid
  • baking properties
  • cereal products
  • cell-walls
  • barley
  • release
  • fiber
  • oligosaccharides
  • solubilization


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