Under a new collaboration agreement, Meiogenix aims to use its non-GM technology to discover novel yeast strains with improved industrial properties.
These will then be industrialized by Lesaffre, which told BakeryandSnacks they would be hoping to improve baker’s yeasts and offer yeasts “even more suitable to existing and newly introduced baking recipes and processes.”
“This is part of Lesaffre’s strategy to continuously adapt its portfolio to offer yeasts that suit the best the changes that are taking place in the baking industry continuously,” it added.
Genetic engineering techniques
Advances in genetic engineering techniques such as CRISPR/CAS9 could have “unprecedented impact” on the development of novel yeast strains, said the businesses, but concerns about genetically modified organisms in the food and beverage industry were still a major hurdle for development and commercialization.
Meiogenix said its proprietary PhoeniX technology controls the process of natural meiotic recombination and efficiently generates non-GM recombined yeast cells, particularly for industrial strains where meiosis is impeded.
Meiogenix: Paris-based Meiogenix is a spin-off of the Institut Curie and agricultural research institute INRA, which aims develop breeding technologies to increase the genetic diversity of organisms.
Lesaffre: A global yeasts and fermentation business, Lesaffre designs, manufactures and markets solutions for baking, health care and biotechnology. It has a turnover of more than €1.8bn ($2bn).
'Not yet an accepted option'
“We believe PhoeniX can have a major impact in the yeast industry, especially for food applications where mainstream genetic engineering technologies are not yet an accepted option,” said Meiogenix co-founder and CEO Giacomo Bastianelli.
He added the collaboration with Lesaffre would give his business the chance to “put into play” the yeast technologies it had developed.
Lesaffre R&D Biotech Center director Didier Colavizza said Meiogenix’s technology gave Lesaffre an opportunity to produce more diversity in yeast.
“As an alternative to mutagenesis, this technique can improve yeasts and be applied in many fields from baking yeast to biofuels,” he added.