Metabolic control theory: its role in microbiology and biotechnology


  • Douglas B. Kell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Botany and Microbiology, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 3DA, U.K.
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  • Hans V. Westerhoff

    1. Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD, U.S.A.
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*To whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract Many areas of microbiology and biotechnology are directly concerned with the isolation, study or engineering of cells capable of (over)producing metabolites of commercial significance. Yet the study, production or improvement of such strains has often been at best semi-empirical. The metabolic control theory developed by Kacser, Burns, Heinrich and Rapoport can provide a rational and quantitative basis for the description and improvement of such processes.