The notion of elementary flux mode (EFM) is a key concept derived from the analysis of metabolic networks from a pathway-oriented perspective. The EFMs are the shortest pathways through a metabolic reaction network that connect external substrates to products. The EFM computation can be used for different purposes, including the determination of the distribution of fluxes in a metabolic network under the constraints provided by the network stoichiometry and the measurements of extracellular fluxes, as well as the derivation of dynamic macroscopic models. The former problem is generally underdeterminate and the set of solution is a pointed polyhedral cone, so that the flux distribution can only be provided in the form of intervals. The latter problems is concerned with the
consideration of a reduced set of EFMs and the determination of the fluxes along them. This presentation reviews the key concepts and presents a few applications.
Alain Vande Wouwer, M.Sc.Eng., Ph.D.,
is full professor in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Mons, and Head of the Systems, Estimation, Control and Optimization (SECO) Group. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, parameter and state estimation, dynamic optimization and process control, with applications to biochemical processes and unmanned aerial vehicles.