Continuous enzymatic hydrolysis of sugar beet pectin and L-arabinose recovery within an integrated biorefinery

Max Cárdenas-Fernández, Charlotte Hamley-Bennett, David J. Leak, Gary J. Lye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


Sugar beet pulp (SBP) fractionated by steam explosion, released sugar beet pectin (SB-pectin) which was selectively hydrolysed using a novel α-L-arabinofuranosidase (AF), yielding monomeric L-arabinose (Ara) and a galacturonic acid rich backbone (GABB). AF was immobilised on an epoxy-functionalised resin with 70% overall immobilisation yield. Pretreatment of SB-pectin, to remove coloured compounds, improved the stability of the immobilised AF, allowing its reutilisation for up to 10 reaction cycles in a stirred tank reactor. Continuous hydrolysis of SB-pectin was subsequently performed using a packed bed reactor (PBR) with immobilised AF. Reactor performance was evaluated using a Design of Experiment approach. Pretreated SB-pectin hydrolysis was run for 7 consecutive days maintaining 73% of PBR performance. Continuous separation of Ara from GABB was achieved by tangential flow ultrafiltration with 92% Ara recovery. These results demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a continuous bioprocess to obtain Ara from the inexpensive SBP biomass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date22 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Arabinofuranosidase
  • Biomass pretreatment
  • Continuous bioprocessing
  • L-Arabinose
  • Sugar beet pectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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