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Advances in metabolic modeling of oleaginous microalgae

Tibocha-Bonilla, Juan D., Zuñiga, Cristal, Godoy-Silva, Rubén D., Zengler, Karsten
Biotechnology for biofuels 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 241
Cyanobacteria, autotrophs, biofuels, carbon metabolism, genetic improvement, lipids, microalgae, microorganisms, models, nonrenewable resources, phenotype, photosynthesis, prediction
Production of biofuels and bioenergy precursors by phototrophic microorganisms, such as microalgae and cyanobacteria, is a promising alternative to conventional fuels obtained from non-renewable resources. Several species of microalgae have been investigated as potential candidates for the production of biofuels, for the most part due to their exceptional metabolic capability to accumulate large quantities of lipids. Constraint-based modeling, a systems biology approach that accurately predicts the metabolic phenotype of phototrophs, has been deployed to identify suitable culture conditions as well as to explore genetic enhancement strategies for bioproduction. Core metabolic models were employed to gain insight into the central carbon metabolism in photosynthetic microorganisms. More recently, comprehensive genome-scale models, including organelle-specific information at high resolution, have been developed to gain new insight into the metabolism of phototrophic cell factories. Here, we review the current state of the art of constraint-based modeling and computational method development and discuss how advanced models led to increased prediction accuracy and thus improved lipid production in microalgae.