Efficacy of acidic pretreatment for the saccharification and fermentation of alginate from brown macroalgae

Damao Wang, Eun Ju Yun, Sooah Kim, Do Hyoung Kim, Nari Seo, Hyun Joo An, Jae Han Kim, Nam Yong Cheong, Kyoung Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This study was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of acidic pretreatment in increasing the enzymatic digestibility of alginate from brown macroalgae. Pretreatment with 1 % (w/v) sulfuric acid at 120 °C for 30 min produced oligosaccharides, mannuronic acid, and guluronic acid. Enzymatic saccharification of pretreated alginate by alginate lyases produced 52.2 % of the theoretical maximal sugar yield, which was only 7.5 % higher than the sugar yield obtained with unpretreated alginate. Mass spectrometric analyses of products of the two reactions revealed that acidic pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification produced saturated monomers (i.e., mannuronic and guluronic acid) with saturated oligosaccharides and unsaturated monomers (i.e., 4-deoxy-l-erythro-5-hexoseulose uronic acid; DEH), respectively. While DEH is further metabolized by microorganisms, mannuronic acid and guluronic acid are not metabolizable. Because of the poor efficacy in increasing enzymatic digestibility and owing to the formation of non-fermentable saturated monomers, acidic pretreatment cannot be recommended for enzymatic saccharification and fermentation of alginate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-966
Number of pages8
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 1


  • Acidic pretreatment
  • Alginate
  • Brown macroalgae
  • Depolymerization
  • Saccharification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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