Metabolic flux analysis in plants: From intelligent design to rational engineering

Igor G.L. Libourel, Yair Shachar-Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) is a rapidly developing field concerned with the quantification and understanding of metabolism at the systems level. The application of MFA has produced detailed maps of flow through metabolic networks of a range of plant systems. These maps represent detailed metabolic phenotypes, contribute significantly to our understanding of metabolism in plants, and have led to the discovery of new metabolic routes. The presentation of thorough statistical evaluation with current flux maps has set a new standard for the quality of quantitative flux studies. In microbial systems, powerful methods have been developed for the reconstruction of metabolic networks from genomic and transcriptomic data, pathway analysis, and predictive modeling. This review brings together the recent developments in quantitative MFA and predictive modeling. The application of predictive tools to high quality flux maps in particular promises to be important in the rational metabolic engineering of plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-650
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Plant Biology
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis
  • Flux balance analysis
  • Metabolic networks
  • Predictive modeling
  • Rational metabolic engineering
  • Systems biology


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