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European consortium to develop bioinformatics platform to predict functionality of food bacteria

FBR Staff Writer Published 09 January 2014

A group of research institutes and European SMEs have partnered to develop a new bioinformatics platform GENOBOX which helps predict functional properties of food bacteria and probiotics based on their genome sequence.

The tool will incorporate a set of algorithms for annotation of genes, metabolic modeling, text mining, and transcriptome analysis.

GENOBOX can compare the data with numerous genomes of micro-organisms available in the public domain.

Financed partly by the EU under the EU-FP7 program, the project aims to transform genomic data into strain functionality, for instance GI-survival, yield, probiotic properties, safety, or production of flavor compounds.

The consortium comprises Bioprox, LB Bulgaricum, NIZO food research, Radboud university medical center, Sacco and Winclove Probiotics.

Consortium coordinator Wynand Alkema said, "The new pipe line, as I call it, will allow companies to select the most promising strains for - say - a new flavor, based on genomic sequence data alone, instead of doing a lot of elaborate and expensive experiments."

Winclove Probiotics senior scientist Saskia van Hemert said, "The GENOBOX platform offers new insights in the potential functionalities of probiotic strains and provides the opportunity to design effective multispecies probiotic mixtures."