Danone opens access to collection of 1,800 strains

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Danone is celebrating 100 years of yogurt by opening its collection of 1,800 strains for research purposes. Pic: ©Getty Images/Vladimirs_Gorelovs
Danone is celebrating 100 years of yogurt by opening its collection of 1,800 strains for research purposes. Pic: ©Getty Images/Vladimirs_Gorelovs

Related tags Danone Yoghurt Yogurt Probiotic

A hundred years after creating its first yogurt, Danone has announced it will open its collection of 1,800 strains for research purposes.

This includes granting access to its current collection of 193 lactic and bifidobacteria ferment strains deposited at the National Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms, held in the Biological Resource Center of Institut Pasteur (CRBIP). Danone will also open its collection of more than 1,600 strains at its Research & Innovation center in Paris-Saclay to researchers around the world, with the aim of sharing Danone’s legacy for the benefit of all.

Danone said the announcement furthers the company’s commitment to promoting open science, a movement toward openness in scientific research, sharing and development of knowledge through collaborative networks.

The announcement was welcomed by the Institut Pasteur, the center for biomedical research set up by Louis Pasteur in 1887; the global research center now has a network of 32 institutes throughout the world.

The first Danone yogurt was made in Barcelona in 1919 by Isaac Carasso, who was inspired by the immunologist Elie Metchnikoff’s research at the Institut Pasteur into the role of ferments in gut and overall health. Faced with the poor gut health affecting Barcelona’s children, Carasso began selling his first yogurts fermented with lactic ferments in Barcelona’s pharmacies. Over the years, through research and innovation and collaboration with international researchers, Danone has built a ferment collection of high genetic diversity.

Lactic and bifidobacteria ferments – special bacteria which can, for example, be used to produce yogurts and fermented milks – may have a range of additional uses, for both food and non-food applications, many of which have not been fully explored or utilized to date. They could potentially help address a series of health, societal and environmental challenges including increasing the diversity of natural fermented food products, and developing higher value-added dairy products to secure a greater revenue stream for farmers; and reducing crop and food losses, by preventing the growth of fungi, bacteria and viruses on crops, as well as on harvested and stored food.

They could also help with protecting and regenerating soil; mitigating methane emissions from cows; reducing antibiotic use and the spread of antibiotic resistance, in both animals and humans; and developing easier methods to deliver drugs or vaccines to humans.

Promoting open science

Speaking at a two-day event celebrating Danone’s 100 years with partners and thought-leaders in the food, health and sustainability space, Danone’s chairman & CEO Emmanuel Faber said, “As part of our commitment to meet people’s needs, we have continuously invested over the past century to build Danone’s expertise in ferments, fermentation and health through food. At a time when our food system and society face a range of unprecedented challenges, we are proud to open our unique collection of strains to the world’s researchers to help us progress towards a healthier and more sustainable world.”

The initiative is part of wider efforts by Danone to promote open science. Danone Nutricia Research recently joined forces with the California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) to advance the understanding of the connection between the diet and human gut through The Human Diets & Microbiome Initiative.

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