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A collection of bacteria to serve the fermented foods of the future

The International Centre for Microbial Resources on Food Bacteria holds a collection of more than 4000 strains.

LOGO Centre International de Ressources Microbienne. © INRA
Updated on 10/29/2018
Published on 07/17/2018

Micro-organisms participate in developing the quality of numerous fermented foods by acting on their texture, flavour, appearance or preservation, etc. Today, more than ever, they are key actors in agrifood innovations as they can respond to the numerous challenges faced regarding our diet in the future, whether this involves improving the nutritional value of foods in order to enhance their beneficial effects on health, fermenting new plant matrices to provide alternatives to the consumption of animal products, or improving the storage of a product without the need to use additives, etc.

A collection of strains with considerable intra-species diversity

The International Centre for Microbial Resources on Food Bacteria (CIRM-BIA) groups more than 4000 strains belonging to 30 different genera and 150 different species. They are mainly lactic acid bacteria (around 80%), but acetic acid, propionic acid and other bacteria are also held. The advantage of this collection is that it can offer considerable intra-species diversity. In the knowledge that the functionalities of a bacterium are in most cases "strain-dependent", it is clear that this collection of micro-organisms from the same species offers major opportunities for their exploitation.

Ongoing enrichment

Initiated during the 1960s with a collection of dairy bacteria (National Collection of Zootechnical Research, CNRZ), the collection has since gradually extended to other biotopes such as plant raw materials (cereals, legumes, grape must, etc.) and different targeted ecosystems (bread-making, winemaking, etc.). The exploration of new biotopes forms an integral part of the missions of CIRM BIA, which thus continues to enrich its collection. The strains are selected in a way that will offer the greatest possible diversity from both the taxonomic and functional points of view for their use by scientific, academic and industrial communities.

An online catalogue

A large proportion of the collection is accessible to industry. The strains thus available have been characterised individually (molecular and phenotypic taxonomic data) and fulfil the traceability conditions necessary for their exploitation (date, site and biotope of isolation, etc.). Go to the catalogue.

Considerable potential to serve industry

CIRM-BIA can offer bilateral research collaborations (INRA-industry) or multi-partner arrangements, as well as the provision of different tailor-made services such as the screening of a targeted functionality: antifungal or probiotic properties, growth at certain temperatures, fermentation of new plant substrates, resistance to particular chemical agents, etc.
CIRM-BIA can offer access to cutting-edge scientific methods and facilities:

  • Molecular identification at a species level (16S rDNA sequencing, specific PCR),
  • Phenotypic identification (standard microbiology, sugar degradation, diacetyl production, monitoring of growth, etc.),
  • Functional characterisation (high-throughput screening system),
  • Characterisation of different food ecosystems,
  • Molecular typing of strains (PFGE, MLST, RAPD, etc.),
  • Testing of antibiotics,
  • Lyophilisation of strains,
  • Preparation of genomic DNA.

A storage service for external collections

In addition, the CIRM-BIA has developed services for the storage of strains that only benefit a particular depositor (high-security and confidential deposits). The strains are thus stored under optimum conditions that can ensure their long-term future (lyophilisation or freezing).
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact CIRM-BIA.

The International Centre for Microbial Resources, CIRM

CIRM-BIA forms part of the CIRM, the International Centre for Microbial Resources

Le CIRM-BIA fait partie du CIRM qui est un centre de ressources biologiques. © INRA

The CIRM was set up by INRA in 2004 and its current partners include Agrocampus Ouest, AgroParisTech, INRA and Aix-Marseille, Angers and Tours Universities.
A total of more than 22,000 strains (filamentous fungi, bacteria, yeasts) are stored within five thematic entities, all ISO 9001 certified:
-    BIA: food bacteria, Rennes
-    CFBP: plant bacteria, Angers
-    BP: pathogenic bacteria, Tours
-    Yeasts of technological interest, Jouy-en-Josas
-    CF: filamentous fungi, Marseille
The CIRM is involved in numerous research projects which aim to better understand and exploit microbial diversity.  
At a national level, the CIRM constitutes the microbial pillar of the Agricultural Resources for Research infrastructure -RARe-. Since 2016 it has been included in the national roadmap for major research infrastructures. RARe assembles all Biological Resource Centres operated by INRA, IRD, CNRS and CIRAD, and notably provides organisational support to its members in application of the Nagoya Protocol and the French law on the reconquest of biodiversity.

The CIRM, a resource centre integrated at a European level

At a European level, since coordinating the EMbaRC project (2009-2012), the CIRM was closely involved in preparing the Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure project (MIRRI  2012-2016) which was included in the ESFRI roadmap and now plays a key role in its construction. MIRRI is a shared, pan-European Research Infrastructure which aims to facilitate access to genetic resources and their use by academic and industrial research. In the longer term, MIRRI will involve more than 300,000 microbial isolates.