System-level modeling of acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation

Chen Liao, Seung Oh Seo, Ting Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation is a metabolic process of clostridia that produces bio-based solvents including butanol. It is enabled by an underlying metabolic reaction network and modulated by cellular gene regulation and environmental cues. Mathematical modeling has served as a valuable strategy to facilitate the understanding, characterization and optimization of this process. In this review, we highlight recent advances in system-level, quantitative modeling of ABE fermentation. We begin with an overview of integrative processes underlying the fermentation. Next we survey modeling efforts including early simple models, models with a systematic metabolic description, and those incorporating metabolism through simple gene regulation. Particular focus is given to a recent system-level model that integrates the metabolic reactions, gene regulation and environmental cues. We conclude by discussing the remaining challenges and future directions towards predictive understanding of ABE fermentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberfnw074
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 3 2016


  • ABE fermentation
  • Butanol
  • Mathematical modeling
  • System-level integration
  • Systems biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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