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Comparison and analysis of objective functions in flux balance analysis

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Flux balance analysis (FBA) is currently one of the most important and used techniques for estimation of metabolic reaction rates (fluxes). This mathematical approach utilizes an optimization criterion in order to select a distribution of fluxes from the feasible space delimited by the metabolic reactions and some restrictions imposed over them, assuming that cellular metabolism is in steady state. Therefore, the obtained flux distribution depends on the specific objective function used. Multiple studies have been aimed to compare distinct objective functions at given conditions, in order to determine which of those functions produces values of fluxes closer to real data when used as objective in the FBA; in other words, what is the best objective function for modeling cell metabolism at a determined environmental condition. However, these comparative studies have been designed in very dissimilar ways, and in general, several factors that can change the ideal objective function in a cellular condition have not been adequately considered. Additionally, most of them have used only one dataset for representing one condition of cell growth, and different measuring techniques have been used. For these reasons, a rigorous study on the effect of factors such as the quantity of used data, the number and type of fluxes utilized as input data, and the selected classification of growth conditions, are required in order to obtain useful conclusions for these comparative studies, allowing limiting clearly the application range on any of those results. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:985–991, 2014
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Keywords: flux balance analysis; objective function; quality of flux distribution prediction

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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