Front. Plant Sci., 11 August 2011 | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00038

Flux-balance modeling of plant metabolism

  • Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Flux-balance modeling of plant metabolic networks provides an important complement to 13C-based metabolic flux analysis. Flux-balance modeling is a constraints-based approach in which steady-state fluxes in a metabolic network are predicted by using optimization algorithms within an experimentally bounded solution space. In the last 2 years several flux-balance models of plant metabolism have been published including genome-scale models of Arabidopsis metabolism. In this review we consider what has been learnt from these models. In addition, we consider the limitations of flux-balance modeling and identify the main challenges to generating improved and more detailed models of plant metabolism at tissue- and cell-specific scales. Finally we discuss the types of question that flux-balance modeling is well suited to address and its potential role in metabolic engineering and crop improvement.

Keywords: flux-balance modeling, metabolism, flux

Citation: Sweetlove LJ and Ratcliffe RG (2011) Flux-balance modeling of plant metabolism. Front. Plant Sci. 2:38. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00038

Received: 16 May 2011; Accepted: 28 July 2011;
Published online: 11 August 2011.

Edited by:

Alisdair Fernie, Max Planck Institute for Plant Physiology, Germany

Reviewed by:

Jörg Schwender, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA
John Morgan, Purdue University, USA

Copyright: © 2011 Sweetlove and Ratcliffe. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Lee J. Sweetlove, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK. e-mail:

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