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J Biotechnol. 1999 May 28;71(1-3):191-205.

Stoichiometric modeling of Clostridium acetobutylicum fermentations with non-linear constraints.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


A stoichiometric model of Clostridium acetobutylicum and related strains has been previously derived. The stoichiometric matrix of the model contains a singularity which has prevented the calculation of a unique set of fluxes which describe the primary metabolic activity. To resolve the singularity, we have developed a non-linear constraint relating the acetate and butyrate uptake fluxes. Subsequently, we developed a software package utilizing a model independent heuristic global optimization approach to solve the resultant non-linear problem. We have validated the use of the non-linear constraint by correlating calculated butyrate production pathway flux profiles with measured intracellular pH profiles. Finally, we examined a controlled batch fermentation to determine that the acid formation pathways play critical roles throughout solventogenesis. The broader usefulness of reformulating the stoichiometric model as a constrained minimization problem is discussed.

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