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BMC Syst Biol. 2011 May 19;5:75. doi: 10.1186/1752-0509-5-75.

Expanding a dynamic flux balance model of yeast fermentation to genome-scale.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, School of Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla, Correo, Santiago CHILE.



Yeast is considered to be a workhorse of the biotechnology industry for the production of many value-added chemicals, alcoholic beverages and biofuels. Optimization of the fermentation is a challenging task that greatly benefits from dynamic models able to accurately describe and predict the fermentation profile and resulting products under different genetic and environmental conditions. In this article, we developed and validated a genome-scale dynamic flux balance model, using experimentally determined kinetic constraints.


Appropriate equations for maintenance, biomass composition, anaerobic metabolism and nutrient uptake are key to improve model performance, especially for predicting glycerol and ethanol synthesis. Prediction profiles of synthesis and consumption of the main metabolites involved in alcoholic fermentation closely agreed with experimental data obtained from numerous lab and industrial fermentations under different environmental conditions. Finally, fermentation simulations of genetically engineered yeasts closely reproduced previously reported experimental results regarding final concentrations of the main fermentation products such as ethanol and glycerol.


A useful tool to describe, understand and predict metabolite production in batch yeast cultures was developed. The resulting model, if used wisely, could help to search for new metabolic engineering strategies to manage ethanol content in batch fermentations.

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