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Lesaffre and LBMC to improve innovation in fermentation

In partnership with the Laboratory of Biology and Modelling of the Cell (LBMC, CNR /ENS Lyon), Lesaffre is working on defining transcriptomic and genomic profiles of thousands of yeast strains, by relying on advanced equipment – biofoundry – installed in the new Lesaffre Campus in Marcq-en-Baroeul. Thanks to the collaboration, which started in 2021, Lesafre can access new high-flow methods and software for this research.

The main objective of the project is to obtain a genomic analysis pipeline able to produce a thin ‘identity card’ of every yeast strain, based on NGS raw data coming from this strain’s genome. Lesaffre will use this software to characterize industrial strains, and the LBMC in order to follow functional mutations of laboratory strains, within the process of molecular and basic cellular activity tests.  

Also, this project will allow the implementation of high-flow transcriptomics in various functional exploration projects as part of Lesaffre works. For the LBMC, the aim is also to design the study of the distribution of effects of random mutations on gene expression regulation in controlled environments in laboratories. 

At this stage, three experts within the LBMC oversee the experimental aspect, and the software conception requires the involvement of an additional person involvement.

In the last years, the genomic scope has been completely transformed by the arrival of new sequencing techniques –  Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The large data pool that is produced by NGS and its analysis requires dedicated tools – bioinformatics. Generic tools are made available by the scientific community, but their usage requires a specific software implementation for each application and equipment.  

The LBMC is currently developing a new high-flow analysis method, aiming to quantify, in only a few days, the transcriptomic profile of thousands of yeast strains. This development involves the setting of innovative experimental protocols and special software for NGS data analysis.  

Lesaffre owns one of the most important private collections of yeast strains and plans to enrich and use it to its full potential. Its teams focus on establishing the identity card of every yeast strain, to classify them with a detailed description. Beyond genome characteristics, Lesaffre also explores yeast cellular responses to mutations and environmental conditions.  

“Thanks to the biofoundry installed in the new Lesaffre Campus, R, D&I teams are able to sequence yeast strains with high flow. But it is essential to have new high-flow transcriptomic analysis methods. Thanks to this collaboration between the LBMC team specialized in the «Genetic complexity of living systems» and Lesaffre experts, new experimental protocols and software tools necessary to these analyses could see the light of day in just over a year,” says Mathieu Clément-Ziza, Head of Data Science and Bioinformatics at Lesaffre. 


Through the ‘’France Relance’ governmental plan, Lesaffre and the CNRS have been able to reinforce their partnership through a private-public collaborative research contract, which focuses on supporting youth employment. For two years, a computational biology engineer will share their time between Lesaffre (60%) and the CNRS to develop these complex software tools, and the state will cover part of their remuneration. 

“For Lesaffre, accelerating innovation in the fermentation field also includes our capacity to manage, qualify and process the complexity of collected data, by relying on mathematics and informatics. It is in this perspective that we wished to share our expertise with Gaël Yvert and his team from LBMC, in order to develop together tools and methods which will allow us to go faster, to innovate faster, in the service of our customers, and then pursue the Group mission: working together to better nourish and protect the planet,” comments a Christine M’Rini, Chief R, D&I Officer at Lesaffre. 

The LBMC (Laboratory of Biology and Modelling of the Cell) is a research laboratory from the CNRS and the ENS based in Lyon, which focuses and cellular and molecular biology, especially on the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and cell death. LBMC researchers use various techniques, including genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, microscopy, and computer modeling to study cellular processes. Research works led at the LBMC have implications in several fields, including industrial biotechnologies, medicine, or microorganism fermentation processes.  

“This stimulating project comes from the meeting of private company Lesaffre and LBMC interests, a public laboratory of fundamental research. It is with these interests in mind that we have been able to build a solid partnership, which will serve both Lesaffre’s projects and the works carried out by our teams within the CNRS. The sharing of expertise, the constructive exchanges, and the collaborative spirit that we have with Lesaffre are the recipe that allows us to boldly move through the stages of this project,” added Gaël Yvert, Research Director at the CNRS. 

Photo: Lesaffre