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A biochemical investigation of wood cellulose Stevenson, George William


A method is described for the preparation of an induced xylanase from Chaetomlum globosum. This soil micro-organism was first grown in synthetic liquid media containing xylan as the sole carbon source. After incubation at room temperature for a suitable time, the mycella were harvested, centrifuged and exposed to high frequency vibrations which ruptured the cell walls. The resulting clear enzyme solution was shown to be capable of hydrolysing xylan from wheat straw. The main end product of hydrolysis detected by means of paper chromatography was xylose. The action of this induced enzyme preparation on wood cellulose was studied. A considerable fraction of the xylan was removed without significantly changing the mannose or glucose content. In connection with the enzyme studies, a method is given for the quantitative determination of polysaccharides in wood-cellulose preparations. Direct photometric analyses of the wood hydrolysate spots on paper chromatograms were made with an adapted Beckman spectrophotometer. An analysis of selected commercial pulps is given together with a comparison of the method with conventional pentosan analyses.

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