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MICRO B3 — Result In Brief

Project ID: 287589
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: Germany
Domain: Aquatic resources, Environment, Information and communication technology

Bioinformatics boosts biotechnology applications

Innovative bioinformatic approaches and a legal framework for making large-scale data on marine microorganism genomes and metagenomes more widely accessible have helped to define new targets for biotechnological applications.
Bioinformatics boosts biotechnology applications
The EU-funded MICRO B3 (Marine microbial biodiversity, bioinformatics and biotechnology) project was established to improve Europe’s capacity to integrate bioinformatics and marine microbiological data. The aim was to benefit a range of disciplines in biosciences, technology, computing and law.

A highly interdisciplinary consortium included both 32 academic and industrial partners from all over Europe. It comprised world-leading experts in bioinformatics, computer science, biology, ecology, oceanography, bioprospecting and biotechnology, as well as legal aspects.

Work included mobilizing the wider research community for sampling the world’s ocean on three global Ocean Sampling days OSD. OSD included MYOSD, the first citizen science campaign to enable citizens to perform microbial sampling of the ocean across the globe.

Project partners also employed current sequencing technologies to efficiently exploit large-scale sequence data in an environmental context. The data was used to create integrated knowledge to inform marine ecosystems biology and modeling.

Several bioinformatics tools were developed and tested. They included the 3DM database system, which used dedicated workflows for computational predictions of substrate selectivity of enzymes.

A novel tool used co-occurrence networks to determine hypothetical functions of unknown genes found in marine microbes. This in combination with an ultra-fast biosynthetic gene cluster recruiter was used to generate biotechnological relevant enzyme targets from metagenomes.

The consortium also developed intellectual property agreements for the protection and sustainable use of pre-competitive microbial genetic resources and their exploitation in high potential commercial applications. Outreach and training activities were conducted, as well as OSD/MyOSD, to make project results accessible and gain valuable user feedback.

MICRO B3 helped to overcome current obstacles in marine biodiversity research and blue biotechnology by enabling marine scientists and biotechnology developers to join forces with legal policy and communication experts and work together in an integrated way to achieve maximum results.

Related information


Genomes, metagenomes, MICRO B3, biodiversity, bioinformatics, biotechnology, Ocean Sampling days, intellectual property agreements
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