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Metab Eng. 2001 Apr;3(2):100-10.

Flux estimation using isotopic tracers: common ground for metabolic physiology and metabolic engineering.

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Department of Physiology, George Washington University Medical Center, 2300 Eye Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


Metabolic physiologists and metabolic engineers share the need to estimate flux. However, the physiologist often works with systems that do not maintain steady state for long. Many sites cannot be sampled, and calculating mass and isotopic balance for the entire system may not be feasible. To deal with these constraints, metabolic physiologists have developed specialized isotopic techniques that may be unfamiliar to metabolic engineers. A selection of these techniques is presented here, not because it is anticipated that they would be used by engineers exactly as in the physiologist's setting, but because they illustrate novel applications of tracer methodology. Creative engineers may find new adaptations of these tools in metabolic engineering and opportunities to increase redundancy. Physiologists, entering into a dialog with engineers, may see more clearly the potential of comprehensive models and revisit the impediments to a more complete analysis of human metabolic systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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