Background Cyanobacteria are one of the target groups of organisms explored for production of free fatty acids (FFAs) as biofuel precursors. Experimental evaluation of cyanobacterial potential for FFA production is costly and time consuming. Thus, computational approaches for comparing and ranking cyanobacterial strains for their potential to produce biofuel based on the characteristics of their predicted proteomes can be of great importance. Results To enable such comparison and ranking, and to assist biotechnology developers and researchers in selecting strains more likely to be successfully engineered for the FFA production, we developed the Biofuel Producer Screen (BioPS) platform (http://www.cbrc. kaust.edu.sa/biops). BioPS relies on the estimation of the predicted proteome makeup of cyanobacterial strains to produce and secrete FFAs, based on the analysis of well-studied cyanobacterial strains with known FFA production profiles. The system links results back to various external repositories such as KEGG, UniProt and GOLD, making it easier for users to explore additional related information. Conclusion To our knowledge, BioPS is the first tool that screens and evaluates cyanobacterial strains for their potential to produce and secrete FFAs based on strain's predicted proteome characteristics, and rank strains based on that assessment. We believe that the availability of such a platform (comprising both a prediction tool and a repository of pre-evaluated stains) would be of interest to biofuel researchers. The BioPS system will be updated annually with information obtained from newly sequenced cyanobacterial genomes as they become available, as well as with new genes that impact FFA production or secretion.
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