Computational Framework for Machine-Learning-Enabled 13C Fluxomics

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8 Scopus Citations


13C metabolic flux analysis (MFA) has emerged as a powerful tool for synthetic biology. This optimization-based approach suffers long computation time and unstable solutions depending on the initial guess. Here, we develop a machine-learning-based framework for 13C fluxomics. Specifically, training and test data sets are generated by metabolic network decomposition and flux sampling, in which flux ratios at metabolic nodes and simulated labeling patterns of metabolites are used as training targets and features, respectively. To improve prediction accuracy and simplify the model, automated processes are developed for flux ratio selection based on solvability and feature screening based on importance. We found that predictive performance can be significantly improved using both amino acids and central carbon metabolites in comparison with amino acids alone. Together with measured external fluxes, the predicted flux ratios determine the mass balance system, yielding global flux distributions. This approach is validated by flux estimation using both simulated and experimental data in comparison with canonical 13C MFA. The approach represents a reliable fluxomics method readily applicable to high-throughput metabolic phenotyping, which highlights the advances of intelligent learning algorithms in synthetic biology, specifically in the Test and Learn stage of the Design–Build–Test–Learn cycle.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)103-115
Number of pages13
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-79465


  • C metabolic flux analysis
  • constrained flux balance analysis
  • machine learning
  • metabolic network decomposition
  • solvability of flux ratios


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