Danone, France, celebrates 100 years of yogurt making by opening access to its collection of 1,800 yogurt strains to foster cooperation in food, health and sustainability research. This includes granting access to its current collection of 193 lactic and bifidobacteria ferment strains deposited at the National Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms, France, held in the Biological Resource Center of Institut Pasteur (CRBIP), France.

Danone will also open its collection of over 1,600 strains at its research and innovation center in Paris-Saclay to researchers around the world.

This announcement furthers Danone’s commitment to promoting open science, a movement toward openness in scientific research and sharing and development of knowledge through collaborative networks. It also contributes to delivering on Danone’s 2030 Goals and its objective to serve the food revolution with partners.

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 CRBIP into the role of ferments in gut and overall health. 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, which can 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.

For example, the ferments 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.
  • Reducing crop and food losses by preventing the growth of fungi, bacteria and viruses on crops, as well as on harvested and stored food.
  • Protecting and regenerating soil.
  • Mitigating methane emissions from cows.
  • Reducing antibiotic use and the spread of antibiotic resistance in both animals and humans.
  • Developing easier methods to deliver drugs or vaccines to humans.

“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,” says Emmanuel Faber, chairman and CEO. “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 toward a healthier and more sustainable world.”

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