The Dangé Saint Romain site has been a pole of research since the1960s, as it was the main centre for Rhodia, which Danisco acquired in 2004.
But Egon Hansen, VP of R&D at Danisco Cultures said the company decided to build a new centre there as “The facility was unsuited to the type of work we are doing, and as we continue to grow in France.
“We see the role of microbiology as increasing, as food protection and safety are very important, and microbiology offers a number of solutions.” He added that Danisco is “one of the leading companies in natural food protection”.
The new 2,000 square metre building will host up to 30 scientists and technicians, and will serve the whole of Danisco worldwide.
A key area of work in Dangé Saint Romain is the role of bacteriophages to give a built-in defence to cultures. Danisco carried out early research and fundamental science on bacteriophages, and is now concentrating on applying the principle to products for the dairy industry.
At the same time, it supports scientists around the world who are jumping into the fundamental science area by participating in grant applications and conferences.
Another important research area is process development – that is, increasing the quality of products and the capacity of the facility. The centre will also play a big role in dairy cultures (frozen and freeze-dried), and in probiotics – live organisms to stimulate healthy gut flora.
Hansen said: “A lot of the health benefits of cultures can be developed without the use of genetic engineering, but they may be strengthened or improved by molecular technology. This could become an attractive opportunity in the next few years.”
The company also has research centres for cultures in Germany and the US. Hansen explained that these play an important role alongside the site in France.
All three conduct research on process development, while work on upstream microbiology and dairy cultures will be mainly in France. Some work on dairy cultures will also take place in the US, as well as genomics work on microorganisms.
“Danisco is a global company, and it is important to have research centres at different sites, with teams of sufficient size. Europe is an important market for microbiology and health and nutrition aspects, but we also maintain teams in the US, as development of science and genomics is important in the US.”
The decision to build the BioScience Development Center was taken less than two years ago, and the company moved fast to make it a reality. It broke ground at the site just over a year ago.