Indian Researchers Create Database of Enzymes for Biofuel Production

A wide variety of molecules which can be used as biofuels or biofuel precursors are produced using microbial enzymes. However, a common challenge in the industrial implementation of enzyme catalysis for biofuel production is the unavailability of a comprehensive biofuel enzyme resource, low efficiency of known enzymes, and limited availability of enzymes which function under extreme conditions.

Hence, the team of Nikhil Chaudhary from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research has developed a comprehensive database of known enzymes with proven or potential applications in biofuel production. They did this through text mining of PubMed abstracts and other publicly available information. A total of 131 enzymes with roles in biofuel production were identified and classified into six enzyme classes and four broad application categories.

A prediction tool ‘Benz' was also developed to identify and classify novel homologues of the known biofuel enzyme sequences from sequenced genomes and metagenomes. Using the Benz tool, 153,754 novel homologues of biofuel enzymes were identified from 23 diverse metagenomic sources. The database and the Benz tool is publicly available.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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