UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The influence of feedstock characteristics on enzyme production in Trichoderma reesei: a review on productivity, gene regulation and secretion profiles Novy, Vera; Nielsen, Fredrik; Seiboth, Bernhard; Nidetzky, Bernd


Biorefineries, designed for the production of lignocellulose-based chemicals and fuels, are receiving increasing attention from the public, governments, and industries. A major obstacle for biorefineries to advance to commercial scale is the high cost of the enzymes required to derive the fermentable sugars from the feedstock used. As summarized in this review, techno-economic studies suggest co-localization and integration of enzyme manufacturing with the cellulosic biorefinery as the most promising alternative to alleviate this problem. Thus, cultivation of Trichoderma reesei, the principal producer of lignocellulolytic enzymes, on the lignocellulosic biomass processed on-site can reduce the cost of enzyme manufacturing. Further, due to a complex gene regulation machinery, the fungus can adjust the gene expression of the lignocellulolytic enzymes towards the characteristics of the feedstock, increasing the hydrolytic efficiency of the produced enzyme cocktail. Despite extensive research over decades, the underlying regulatory mechanisms are not fully elucidated. One aspect that has received relatively little attention in literature is the influence the characteristics of a lignocellulosic substrate, i.e., its chemical and physical composition, has on the produced enzyme mixture. Considering that the fungus is dependent on efficient enzymatic degradation of the lignocellulose for continuous supply of carbon and energy, a relationship between feedstock characteristics and secretome composition can be expected. The aim of this review was to systematically collect, appraise, and aggregate data and integrate results from studies analyzing enzyme production by T. reesei on insoluble cellulosic model substrates and lignocellulosic biomass. The results show that there is a direct effect of the substrate’s complexity (rated by structure, composition of the lignin–carbohydrate complex, and recalcitrance in enzymatic saccharification) on enzyme titers and the composition of specific activities in the secretome. It further shows that process-related factors, such as substrate loading and cultivation set-up, are direct targets for increasing enzyme yields. The literature on transcriptome and secretome composition further supports the proposed influence of substrate-related factors on the expression of lignocellulolytic enzymes. This review provides insights into the interrelation between the characteristics of the substrate and the enzyme production by T. reesei, which may help to advance integrated enzyme manufacturing of substrate-specific enzymes cocktails at scale.

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