BioPS: Biofuel Producer Screen


Since photosynthetic cyanobacteria are capable of directly converting carbon dioxide into free fatty acid (FFA) as precursors towards such high-energy-density biofuels, a few cyanobacterial strains have been targeted for this purpose. However, the composition of their proteomes has limited the production of sufficient amounts of FFA to be commercially viable. Thus, identifying the cyanobacterial strain with a proteome that requires the least amount of engineering to produce sufficient amounts of FFA is paramount. Here we present the BioPS (Biofuel Producer Screen) system as an in silico tool that can be used to screen and evaluate the cyanobacterial strains natural potential for FFA production based on their proteomes. It allows users to evaluate their newly sequenced strains or explore more than 140 sequenced strains (downloaded from NCBI) that have already been evaluated for their biofuel production potential. Additionally, BioPS provides a repository of the biofuel-related protein/orthologous group (OGs) data, and their impact on biofuel production. Moreover, it allows users to suggest the addition of protein/orthologous group (OGs) found to influence FFA production (pending verification). Overall BioPS complements and provides links to existing databases such as KEGG, Uniprot, and Cyanobase.

Note that BioPS currently only uses the native biosynthetic capability for FFA production as the key consideration when identifying candidate cyanobacterial chassis strains. However, we aim to expand this screening procedure in the future to include other important aspects such as environmental robustness, strain turnover rate, photosynthesis/CO2 fixating capabilities, gene expression levels, and metabolic flux, when more supporting data become available. Additionally, BioPS does not assess the predominant chain lengths for FFAs produced by the cyanobacterial strains. Thus, BioPS aims to serve as a complement to the existing tools and databases.

For more details about the screeing method FFASC, refer to "In silico screening for candidate chassis strains of free fatty acid-producing cyanobacteria" published in BMC genomics on 2017.


  1. “In silico screening for candidate chassis strains of free fatty acid-producing cyanobacteria”, Pubmed