The UM-BBD Predictive Biodegradation Workshop 5

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On May 8-9, 2009, in the Cargill Building at the University of Minnesota, we will convene a panel to discuss the University of Minnesota Pathway Prediction System (UM-PPS) and predictions for the environmental fate of emerging biofuel compounds. The scientific panel will be composed of participants from the United States, Europe and Japan, representing academia and government agencies.

The current workshop will address the comprehensiveness of the PPS rule system, methods for appropriate restriction of metabolic predictions, and issues pertaining to biofuel biodegradation. Regarding the latter, many different types of molecules are being considered for use as biofuels. Current research is focused on producing renewable chemicals with the requisite fuel properties, cheaply and efficiently. Very little attention is being paid to the environmental consequences of potential biofuel compounds. We will address that important issue at this workshop.

It is the goal of the fifth Biodegradation Prediction Workshop to follow up on the first four Predict-BT workshops to:

  • Elicit knowledge from panel members to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system.
  • Prioritize future PPS developments.
  • Decide on potential ways to rationally limit such computer predictions.
  • Encouraged further collaboration among the participants on this project.

We appreciate the efforts of the panel members who take the time to work on this project. With over ten million organic compounds known and solid biodegradation information available for perhaps 0.05% of them, our collective ignorance is great. It is in this context that we at Minnesota think that this concerted effort will really make an impact. We hope that we all learn from each other as we work to collectively attain goals that would be beyond any one person.

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