The operation and development of Biological Resource Centres (BRCs) make necessary the use of software to manage all data relating to acquisition, characterization, production, storage as well as distribution of biological resources. At the beginning of this project, none of in-house developed software or commercial solution used by BRCs provided all the expected functions and this for a maximum of types of biological resources.
The purpose of this project, funded by a grant IBiSA GIS, was to develop a generic software, but flexible enough to meet the specific needs of each BRC, ensuring data traceability and compliance with regulations. This software must be distributable under a consortium agreement and interoperable with databases of national and international networks. Ten French microbial BRCs were project partners. In collaboration with the Biology IT Center (CIB) of the Institut Pasteur.
The application development (JAVA/JEE and PostgreSQL) was carried out by a service company in collaboration with BRC partners. The solution developed was composed of a public Web application and a private, BRC-LIMS application. A BRC partners data recovery was also part of the specification.
At the end of the project (start of production in January 2013), the BRCs had a custom-designed tool for the management of microbial strains (BRC-LIMS), and a Web application FBRCMi-catalog (accessible via www.fbrcmi.fr) acting as common catalog for all BRCs participating in the project. These tools allow both the internal management of biological resources, their external visibility, and export data to other sites.
Since 2013, the CIB supports and maintains the software.
In conclusion, BRC-LIMS aims to be a tool used daily by BRCs to support users in their tasks and processes, sometimes complex for the management of biological resources.
These software applications, allowing data exchange, facilitate the establishment of a national network of BRC microorganisms and potentially others biological resource networks in the future.
It was designed to be generic, portable, interoperable and user-friendly as well as awareness of biodiversity represented in the BRCs to the scientific and industrial communities.