The Tropical Biominer Project: mining old sources for new drugs

OMICS. 2005 Summer;9(2):130-8. doi: 10.1089/omi.2005.9.130.


The Tropical Biominer Project is a recent initiative from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the Oswaldo Cruz foundation, with the participation of the Biominas Foundation (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil) and the start-up Homologix. The main objective of the project is to build a new resource for the chemogenomics research, on chemical compounds, with a strong emphasis on natural molecules. Adopted technologies include the search of information from structured, semi-structured, and non-structured documents (the last two from the web) and datamining tools in order to gather information from different sources. The database is the support for developing applications to find new potential treatments for parasitic infections by using virtual screening tools. We present here the midpoint of the project: the conception and implementation of the Tropical Biominer Database. This is a Federated Database designed to store data from different resources. Connected to the database, a web crawler is able to gather information from distinct, patented web sites and store them after automatic classification using datamining tools. Finally, we demonstrate the interest of the approach, by formulating new hypotheses on specific targets of a natural compound, violacein, using inferences from a Virtual Screening procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparasitic Agents / chemistry
  • Antiparasitic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Brazil
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / statistics & numerical data
  • Foundations
  • Humans
  • Parasitic Diseases / drug therapy
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Antiparasitic Agents