Thermodynamic analysis of metabolic networks has emerged as a useful new tool for pathway design and metabolic engineering. Understanding the relationship between the thermodynamic driving force of biochemical reactions and metabolic flux has generated new insights regarding the design principles of microbial carbon metabolism. This review summarizes the various lessons that can be obtained from the thermodynamic analysis of metabolic pathways, illustrates concepts of computational thermodynamic tools, and highlights recent applications of thermodynamic analysis to pathway design in industrially relevant microbes.
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