Stoichiometric flux balance models quantitatively predict growth and metabolic by-product secretion in wild-type Escherichia coli W3110.
Flux balance models of metabolism use stoichiometry of metabolic pathways, metabolic demands of growth, and optimality principles to predict metabolic flux distribution and cellular growth under specified environmental conditions. These models have provided a mechanistic interpretation of systemic metabolic physiology, and they are also useful as a quantitative tool for metabolic pathway design. Quantitative predictions of cell growth and metabolic by-product secretion that are experimentally testable can be obtained from these models. In the present report, we used independent measurements to determine the model parameters for the wild-type Escherichia coli strain W3110. We experimentally determined the maximum oxygen utilization rate (15 mmol of O2 per g [dry weight] per h), the maximum aerobic glucose utilization rate (10.5 mmol of Glc per g [dry weight] per h), the maximum anaerobic glucose utilization rate (18.5 mmol of Glc per g [dry weight] per h), the non-growth-associated maintenance requirements (7.6 mmol of ATP per g [dry weight] per h), and the growth-associated maintenance requirements (13 mmol of ATP per g of biomass). The flux balance model specified by these parameters was found to quantitatively predict glucose and oxygen uptake rates as well as acetate secretion rates observed in chemostat experiments. We have formulated a predictive algorithm in order to apply the flux balance model to describe unsteady-state growth and by-product secretion in aerobic batch, fed-batch, and anaerobic batch cultures. In aerobic experiments we observed acetate secretion, accumulation in the culture medium, and reutilization from the culture medium. In fed-batch cultures acetate is cometabolized with glucose during the later part of the culture period.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)