Chapter 4: What We Can Learn from Measuring Metabolic Fluxes in Cyanobacteria

Xiang Gao, Chao Wu, Michael Cantrell, Melissa Cano, Jianping Yu, Wei Xiong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Cyanobacteria with the capability of oxygen-evolving photosynthesis play a vital role in the global carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen cycles. From a biochemical perspective, all phenotypic traits and functions of cyanobacteria are derived from the potential of their metabolism and mirrored in metabolic fluxes through an integrated metabolic network. Metabolic flux, the rate of turnover of molecules through a metabolic pathway, is therefore of great importance for an in-depth understanding of the role of cyanobacteria in the biosphere. Recent interest in cyanobacteria metabolic fluxes is also motivated by the prospect to utilize their light-driven CO2 fixation for sustainable production of valuable chemicals and biofuels. Valorization of cyanobacterial metabolism will require engineering of the native metabolic network - a challenge that can benefit from a quantitative understanding of metabolic reactions taking place intracellularly. In this chapter, we will discuss some intriguing questions relevant to metabolic fluxes in cyanobacteria: How are metabolic fluxes predicted or measured? What do we know about the fluxome inside various cyanobacteria thus far? How are they different between strains as well as in different conditions? And how can we use fluxomics information to guide metabolic engineering and synthetic biology? This chapter will highlight updated knowledge on cyanobacterial metabolism. Specifically, we will focus on providing readers a quantitative vision to understand how this photosynthetic model works.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCyanobacteria Biotechnology
EditorsP. Hudson
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9783527824908
ISBN (Print)9783527347148
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 WILEY-VCH GmbH, Boschstr. 12, 69469 Weinheim, Germany.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-2700-75737


  • ethylene and isoprene
  • metabolic flux analysis
  • pathway thermodynamics
  • photosynthetic carbon metabolism


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