Video: Software simplifies synthesis of biofuels, chemicalsS. Himmelstein | September 08, 2021
A stand-alone software system was developed at U.S. Sandia National Laboratories to optimize biofuel and chemical production based on synthetic biology technology.
The RetSynth platform uses a novel algorithm to sort through large, curated databases of biological and chemical reactions, which could help users synthetically engineer compounds used in the production of biofuels, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals, dyes, scents and flavors. Retrosynthetic analysis streamlines the identification of possible pathways to production, based on the series of biological and chemical reactions needed to engineer and modify the molecules in a cell, to manufacture the desired biological product or compound. By using the software to rapidly analyze all pathways, scientists can determine the production sequence with the fewest steps, the sequences that can be completed with available resources or the most economically viable process.
Additional software features include the ability to collect data from metabolic repositories, perform flux balance analysis, and to view optimal pathways identified by the algorithm using a built-in visualization module. The software also identifies sub-optimal pathways and allows incorporation of non-biological chemical reactions, which may be performed after metabolic production of precursor molecules.