Chemical Entities of Biological Interest: an update

Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Jan;38(Database issue):D249-54. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp886. Epub 2009 Oct 23.


Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) is a freely available dictionary of molecular entities focused on 'small' chemical compounds. The molecular entities in question are either natural products or synthetic products used to intervene in the processes of living organisms. Genome-encoded macromolecules (nucleic acids, proteins and peptides derived from proteins by cleavage) are not as a rule included in ChEBI. In addition to molecular entities, ChEBI contains groups (parts of molecular entities) and classes of entities. ChEBI includes an ontological classification, whereby the relationships between molecular entities or classes of entities and their parents and/or children are specified. ChEBI is available online at This article reports on new features in ChEBI since the last NAR report in 2007, including substructure and similarity searching, a submission tool for authoring of ChEBI datasets by the community and a 30-fold increase in the number of chemical structures stored in ChEBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agrochemicals / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computational Biology / trends
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Dictionaries, Chemical as Topic
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Internet
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Software
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vocabulary, Controlled


  • Agrochemicals
  • Biological Products
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations