Enzymatic hydrolysis of forage cell walls

Bryan A White, Roderick I. Mackie, Kinchel C. Doerner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The forage plant cell wall is a complex and fascinating biological structure. Ruminants depend on the indigenous bacteria, protozoa, and fungi present in the rumen to digest plant cell wall components. Numerous enzyme types and specificites are required to hydrolyze the plant cell wall to its constituent monomeric components. The noncellulosic polysaccharide portion of plant cell walls is hydrolyzed by these same microorganisms, and this process has been reviewed by R. B. Hespell. Microbe-microbe interactions that result in increased plant cell wall hydrolysis are well documented among ruminal microorganisms. The increased complexity of a plant cell wall, with the interactions of lignin, noncellulosic polysaccharides, and cellulose fibrils forming a highly ordered structure, results in an equally complex model for its degradation. The development of molecular biology and recombinant DNA technology and has revolutionized microbial genetics. Except for the cellulose-binding protein, the actual functional role for each of the enzymatic activities in cellulose hydrolysis is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationForage Cell Wall Structure and Digestibility
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780891182382
ISBN (Print)9780891181156
StatePublished - Nov 2 2015


  • Enzymatic degradation
  • Enzymatic hydrolysis
  • Forage cell wall
  • Molecular biology
  • Plant cell wall hydrolysis
  • Ruminal microorganism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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