Disclosed is a method for converting cellulose in a lignocellulosic biomass. The method provides for a lignin-blocking polypeptide and/or protein treatment of high lignin solids. The treatment enhances cellulase availability in cellulose conversion. Cellulase efficiencies are improved by the protein or polypeptide treatment. The treatment may be used in combination with steam explosion and acid prehydrolysis techniques. Hydrolysis yields from lignin containing biomass are enhanced 5-20%, and enzyme utilization is increased from 10% to 50%. Thus, a more efficient and economical method of processing lignin containing biomass materials utilizes a polypeptide/protein treatment step that effectively blocks lignin binding of cellulase.
The United States Government may have certain rights in the present invention as research relevant to its development was funded by United States Department of Energy (DOE) contract number DE FC36-00GO010589 and DE FC36-01GO11075.