This article has been updated from a previous version to include the grant amount
SRI International will use a $1.25 million grant from the Department of Energy to expand its MetaCyc database to include data that can be used for renewable research — a field that, according to Peter Karp, director of the bioinformatics research group in the artificial intelligence center at SRI, is "ripe for improved computational approaches."
The Silicon Valley, Calif.-based nonprofit research and development organization said this week that it will expand its MetaCyc database to include energy-related metabolic pathways and enzymes associated with lignocellulosic biomass degradation, hydrogen production, and microalgae oil production.
Based on the new data, SRI's software will be able to recognize bioenergy-related pathways in sequenced microbes, enabling scientists reconstruct metabolic pathways and develop new methods to produce fuel and other products from biomass and microorganisms, the group said.
Furthermore the software will use the data to generate alternative pathways to create target compounds from specified feedstocks and evaluate the utility of the pathways, allowing researchers to design research protocols that could help shorten development timeframes.