Distributed flux balance analysis simulations of serial biomass fermentation by two organisms

Edward Vitkin, Amichai Gillis, Mark Polikovsky, Barak Bender, Alexander Golberg, Zohar Yakhini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intelligent biorefinery design that addresses both the composition of the biomass feedstock as well as fermentation microorganisms could benefit from dedicated tools for computational simulation and computer-assisted optimization. Here we present the BioLego Vn2.0 framework, based on Microsoft Azure Cloud, which supports large-scale simulations of biomass serial fermentation processes by two different organisms. BioLego enables the simultaneous analysis of multiple fermentation scenarios and the comparison of fermentation potential of multiple feedstock compositions. Thanks to the effective use of cloud computing it further allows resource intensive analysis and exploration of media and organism modifications. We use BioLego to obtain biological and validation results, including (1) exploratory search for the optimal utilization of corn biomasses—corn cobs, corn fiber and corn stover—in fermentation biorefineries; (2) analysis of the possible effects of changes in the composition of K. alvarezi biomass on the ethanol production yield in an anaerobic two-step process (S. cerevisiae followed by E. coli); (3) analysis of the impact, on the estimated ethanol production yield, of knocking out single organism reactions either in one or in both organisms in an anaerobic two-step fermentation process of Ulva sp. into ethanol (S. cerevisiae followed by E. coli); and (4) comparison of several experimentally measured ethanol fermentation rates with the predictions of BioLego.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0227363
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


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