A priori analysis of metabolic flux identifiability from 13C-labeling data

Wouter A. Van Winden*, Joseph J. Heijnen, Peter J T Verheijen, Johan Grievink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The 13C-labeling technique was introduced in the field of metabolic engineering as a tool for determining fluxes that could not be found using the 'classical' method of flux balancing. An a priori flux identifiability analysis is required in order to determine whether a 13C-labeling experiment allows the identification of all the fluxes. In this article, we propose a method for identifiability analysis that is based on the recently introduced 'cumomer' concept. The method improves upon previous identifiability methods in that it provides a way of systematically reducing the metabolic network on the basis of structural elements that constitute a network and to use the implicit function theorem to analytically determine whether the fluxes in the reduced network are theoretically identifiable for various types of real measurement data. Application of the method to a realistic flux identification problem shows both the potential of the method in yielding new, interesting conclusions regarding the identifiability and its practical limitations that are caused by the fact that symbolic calculations grow fast with the dimension of the studied system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-516
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2001


  • C-labeling
  • Cumomer
  • Flux analysis
  • Identifiability
  • Network reduction


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