French fermentation experts strengthen research ties

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

French fermentation experts strengthen research ties

Related tags: INRAE, Lesaffre, Fermentation

Fermentation specialist, Lesaffre and French research institute INRAE are extending their long-term collaboration for another five years to drive research and innovation and deliver solutions that “respond to societal issues related to the environment, food and agriculture”.

The new agreement involves joint initiatives across 15 INRAE research units and testifies to the “relevance and richness​” of the new “framework agreement​”, according to Lesaffre.

INRAE Deputy General Director for Science and Innovation, Carole Caranta, explains the institute will work with Lesaffre to co-design and co-develop new products across the company’s four core business sectors.

Working with a company like Lesaffre allows the institute to share questions, by including in its scientific protocols the technical, economic and environmental dimensions linked to production, processing and distribution.”

She adds: “All this with the aim of accelerating the transfer of our results to the service of agro-ecological and food transitions.”

Future initiatives

The new five-year agreement ensures continuity of research and will build on existing projects dedicated to new eco-designed fermentation processes and probiotics for human and animal nutrition.

Particular areas of interest are white biotechnology (industrial production through biological processes), carbon fixation, alternative biofuels, and methods for recovering by-products from agriculture and food/beverage manufacturing.

Lesaffre R&D Director, Christine M’Rini Puel, comments: “We share many areas of expertise with INRAE, with fantastic possible synergies. Today, this collaboration involves all of our subsidiaries and businesses. Our group cannot conceive its future without innovating, and consequently, without being collaborative and open to seeking new solutions with external partners."

Scientists from both establishments will also maintain studies into microbiota and its applications for bionutrition (soil) and healthcare (including gut and skin health), and Lesaffre will carry on supporting INRAE-led initiative, “Défi Ferments du Futur​”, established to promote France’s international leadership in fermented products.

Scientific progress

INRAE and Lesaffre have worked together for more than 20 years developing probiotics, postbiotics, mycotoxins, and yeast resistance products to improve levels of human and animal health, welfare, productivity, and yeast resistance.

Lesaffre was involved in INRAE’s Futurol project to produce bioethanol using lignocellulosic raw materials. Its team contributed to the fermentation design, optimisation and scaling-up of the bioprocess for the production of cellulosic bioethanol (2G ethanol).

Scientists at Lesaffre’s specialist plant care business, Agrauxine, were also involved in a joint project (with INRAE Bordeaux) that culminated in the development of biocontrol solutions to fight plant disease, and specifically targeting vineyards.

Current joint research projects are investigating applications in the field of biocontrol of plant and/or animal diseases, alternative sources of energy and new tastes and flavours.


INRAE is the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment specialising in building solutions for “multi-performing agriculture​”, quality food, and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems “to meet major global challenges”.

The research institute was created in 2020 from the merger between INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, and IRSTEA, the French National Research Institute of Science and Technology. It comprises 12,000 employees and 273 research, service and experimental units located in 18 locations throughout France.

Lesaffre operates in four industry sectors: baking, food taste & pleasure, healthcare, and biotechnology, with nine separate brands. The fermentation specialist is dedicated to “nourishing and protecting​” human health while preserving natural resources.

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