Enzyme-constrained models predict the dynamics of Saccharomyces cerevisiae growth in continuous, batch and fed-batch bioreactors

Sara Moreno-Paz, Joep Schmitz, Vitor A.P. Martins dos Santos, Maria Suarez-Diez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Genome-scale, constraint-based models (GEM) and their derivatives are commonly used to model and gain insights into microbial metabolism. Often, however, their accuracy and predictive power are limited and enable only approximate designs. To improve their usefulness for strain and bioprocess design, we studied here their capacity to accurately predict metabolic changes in response to operational conditions in a bioreactor, as well as intracellular, active reactions. We used flux balance analysis (FBA) and dynamic FBA (dFBA) to predict growth dynamics of the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae under different industrially relevant conditions. We compared simulations with the latest developed GEM for this organism (Yeast8) and its enzyme-constrained version (ecYeast8) herein described with experimental data and found that ecYeast8 outperforms Yeast8 in all the simulations. EcYeast8 was able to predict well-known traits of yeast metabolism including the onset of the Crabtree effect, the order of substrate consumption during mixed carbon cultivation and production of a target metabolite. We showed how the combination of ecGEM and dFBA links reactor operation and genetic modifications to flux predictions, enabling the prediction of yields and productivities of different strains and (dynamic) production processes. Additionally, we present flux sampling as a tool to analyse flux predictions of ecGEM, of major importance for strain design applications. We showed that constraining protein availability substantially improves accuracy of the description of the metabolic state of the cell under dynamic conditions. This therefore enables more realistic and faithful designs of industrially relevant cell-based processes and, thus, the usefulness of such models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2022


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