What is metano?

n is an open-source software toolbox for analyzing the capabilities of metabolic networks and for assisting in metabolic reconstruction. The software is written in Python and is designed to be easy to use and run reasonably fast. n contains efficient implementations of the established computational methods flux balance analysis (FBA), minimization of metabolic adjustment (MOMA), and flux variability analysis (FVA), as well as a script for automatically analyzing all specified single- or multi-gene knockouts using MOMA or FBA, respectively. In addition, n provides several newly developed methods, including the automated plausibility checking of metabolic models and methods for the metabolite-centric analysis of flux distributions (see our publication).

All methods implemented in n are available both as Python functions and as stand-alone command line scripts, which take lists of reactions in plain ASCII format as input. n is designed to run in any Linux environment. Algorithms with a long running time have been parallelized using MPI, which allows their execution on computer clusters.

As all tools are available as stand-alone scripts that require no adjustment of numerical parameters, n is very easy to use by modelers without any programming experience.

Web-based modeling via MMTB

To complement the stand-alone scripts, we provide MMTB, a web-based toolbox for the generation and analysis of metabolic models. MMTB provides the following:

  • Closing the gap between BKMS and EnzymeDetector: biochemical reactions are associated to genome annotations and prepared for the use in metabolic modeling
  • Further information on metabolites and the assembly of reactions into pathways support during model generation
  • Analysis and visualization of metabolic models: an interface to the modeling toolbox Metano provides online flux balance analysis and a metabolite-centric view of networks

Download metano

The current release of n is available on PyPI You can follow the Installation instructions for Linux distributions or you can run metano in a Docker container with openSUSE as guest OS.

Quick Reference

A quick reference for almost all n functions can be found here.


If you intend to use n for your own published work, we kindly ask that you cite our most recent paper:

Riemer SA, Rex R, Schomburg D. A metabolite-centric view on flux distributions in genome-scale metabolic models. BMC Syst Biol, 7:33 (2013). Free full text