A collection of over 4,000 strains used for innovation purposes
For Danone, the benefits of natural ferments have not required proving for a long time. They form part of the brand’s DNA, which has been skilfully nurtured at the Group’s research and development laboratories. These include around 660 researchers in 40 countries working on R&D in fresh dairy products, and underline Danone’s claim that research is “the company’s greatest ally”.
For fermented products, researchers use that ally in three main areas, as Christine M’Rini, Danone’s Director of R&D for dairy products explains: “First, the aim is to help the intestine play its role in terms of the body’s overall health. This means helping the digestive tract and the microbiota, which are subject to the various sources of stress in modern life, to rediscover their balance. But also, it means boosting the p’s metabolic health. Consuming yoghurt encourages the prevention of major illnesses in the developed world, such as diabetes and obesity.”
The researchers can count on the valuable support provided by thousands of strains of bacteria. “All of the strains are different,” Christine M’Rini says. We are working on species in the large bifidus category, as well as on species in the large lactobacillus category. We are capable of finding specific factors within these categories, which have distinctive properties in terms of health, taste, and texture, etc.”
She continues: “However, no two strains within the same species are alike. It’s somewhat similar to human beings: we belong to the same species, but we nonetheless do not look like our neighbour. We have our own qualities and specific attributes. The same applies to the various bacilli in the same species. This is what we are working on, i.e. identifying the best specimens in order to subsequently make optimal use of them, so as to contribute to the development of new yoghurt ranges for health and enjoyment, taking dietary habits and desires into account.”
We bet that some of these specimens will end up in the Hall of Fame for micro-organisms that are good for health one day.