A review of computational tools for design and reconstruction of metabolic pathways

Lin Wang, Satyakam Dash, Chiam Yu Ng, Costas D. Maranas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Metabolic pathways reflect an organism's chemical repertoire and hence their elucidation and design have been a primary goal in metabolic engineering. Various computational methods have been developed to design novel metabolic pathways while taking into account several prerequisites such as pathway stoichiometry, thermodynamics, host compatibility, and enzyme availability. The choice of the method is often determined by the nature of the metabolites of interest and preferred host organism, along with computational complexity and availability of software tools. In this paper, we review different computational approaches used to design metabolic pathways based on the reaction network representation of the database (i.e., graph or stoichiometric matrix) and the search algorithm (i.e., graph search, flux balance analysis, or retrosynthetic search). We also put forth a systematic workflow that can be implemented in projects requiring pathway design and highlight current limitations and obstacles in computational pathway design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalSynthetic and Systems Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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