How to measure metabolic fluxes: a taxonomic guide for (13)C fluxomics

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2015 Aug;34:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2014.12.003. Epub 2014 Dec 19.


Metabolic reaction rates (fluxes) contribute fundamentally to our understanding of metabolic phenotypes and mechanisms of cellular regulation. Stable isotope-based fluxomics integrates experimental data with biochemical networks and mathematical modeling to 'measure' the in vivo fluxes within an organism that are not directly observable. In recent years, (13)C fluxomics has evolved into a technology with great experimental, analytical, and mathematical diversity. This review aims at establishing a unified taxonomy by means of which the various fluxomics methods can be compared to each other. By linking the developed modeling approaches to recent studies, their challenges and opportunities are put into perspective. The proposed classification serves as a guide for scientific 'travelers' who are striving to resolve research questions with the currently available (13)C fluxomics toolset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Humans
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Models, Biological


  • Carbon Isotopes