BioFuelDB: A Database and Prediction Server of Enzymes Involved in Biofuels Production
by Nikhil Chaudhary, Ankit Gupta, Sudheer Gupta, Vineet K. Sharma (Peer J) In light of the rapid decrease in fossils fuel reserves and an increasing demand for energy, novel methods are required to explore alternative biofuel production processes to alleviate these pressures. A wide variety of molecules which can either be used as biofuels or as biofuel precursors are produced using microbial enzymes. However, the common challenges in the industrial implementation of enzyme catalysis for biofuel production are the unavailability of a comprehensive biofuel enzyme resource, low efficiency of known enzymes, and limited availability of enzymes which can function under extreme conditions in the industrial processes.
We have developed a comprehensive database of known enzymes with proven or potential applications in biofuel production through text mining of PubMed abstracts and other publicly available information. A total of 131 enzymes with a role in biofuel production were identified and classified into six enzyme classes and four broad application categories namely ‘Alcohol production’, ‘Biodiesel production’, ‘Fuel Cell’ and ‘Alternate biofuels’. A prediction tool ‘Benz’ was developed to identify and classify novel homologues of the known biofuel enzyme sequences from sequenced genomes and metagenomes. ‘Benz’ employs a hybrid approach incorporating HMMER 3.0 and RAPSearch2 programs to provide high accuracy and high speed for prediction. READ MORE