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I-ferm: fermentation know-how and tools for industry

I-ferm federates the resources and skills of a network of technology platforms specialised in fermentation. This group has been organised by the 3BCAR Carnot Institute, and its cross-disciplinary nature is able to meet the needs of companies in a variety of markets.

les savoir-faire et les outils de fermentations pour les industriels. © Inra
Updated on 01/18/2018
Published on 10/25/2017

Industrial biotechnologies: a sector of the bioeconomy with considerable potential

Industrial biotechnologies are now considered in Europe as a key resource that can be used to develop the bioeconomy. Indeed, they enable the development of new and innovative production methods thanks to biological tools such as micro-organisms and enzymes. This major European market, worth an estimated €28 billion in 2013, is the subject of much interest and should see major growth; it could have an estimated value of €50 billion by 2030(1). The growth of industrial biotechnologies can be explained by the different benefits of their processes in a context of sustainable development; these processes have less environmental impact and can procure valuable productivity and selectivity. However, such developments may be lengthy and require advanced scientific skills.  
The 3BCAR Carnot Institute has thus placed biotechnologies at the heart of its research strategy, positioning them as essential levers for development of the bioeconomy by means of chemical, physical and thermal processes. The 3BCAR network can provide support for companies at all stages: not only metabolic engineering but also fermentation and downstream extraction processes.
(1)    http://www.industrialbiotech-europe.eu/new/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/BIO-TIC-roadmap.pdf

A federation of resources on fermentation within the 3BCAR Carnot Institute

I-ferm was created to promote the value of fermentation processes to industry and facilitate access for companies to platforms in the 3BCAR network. I-ferm offers a federation of skills and resources that is unique in the field of fermentation.
I-ferm associates six technology platforms (see insert) that work in synergy to offer companies a range of tools and expert support that can respond to their fermentation requirements. The resources mobilised include fermenters which range in volume from the laboratory to the pilot scale and can provide support for the development of processes from proof of concept to industrial upscaling.

Structured and cross-disciplinary services in response to the innovation needs of different markets

Fermentation processes can have numerous applications, such as valorising biomass for bioenergy, producing enzymes and molecules of interest, treating effluents and waste, etc. They are therefore used in numerous markets such as green chemistry, cosmetics, biosourced materials, biofuels or technologies for the environment.
So as to facilitate access to the skills developed by public research, the I-ferm federation has structured its services to respond to different challenges and types of support:

  • Pure cultures,
  • Mixed cultures,
  • Development of measurement systems to manage reactors,
  • Characterisation and orientation of microbial strains and communities,
  • Optimisation of processes and scale changes.
Scientific contact(s):

  • Xavier Cameleyre CNRS-INRA-INSA Toulouse Joint Research Unit for the Engineering of Biological Systems and Processes (UMR 792, LISPB), a 3BCAE component laboratory (see insert), 135 Avenue de Rangueil, 31400 Toulouse
Other contact(s):
Alexandre Brosse – chargé d’affaires 3BCAR - Inra Transfert - 28, rue du Docteur Finlay -75015 Paris (+33(0)1 42 75 93 82)
Associated Division(s):
Science for Food and Bioproduct Engineering, Microbiology and the Food Chain
Associated Centre(s):

The I-ferm federation

The I-ferm federation assembles the skills and resources of six technology platforms working on fermentation:

  • The Bio-Industries Resource and Transfer Centre
  • The Biotechnology Unit within the Joint Research Unit for Agropolymer Engineering and Emerging Technologies –IATE-
  • The BIO2E platform managed jointly by the Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology –LBE-  and INRA-Transfert Environment –ITE-
  • The Fame Tech platform operated by the Joint Research Unit for the Engineering of Biological Systems and Processes –LISBP-
  • SYMBIOSE also operated by the Joint Research Unit for the Engineering of Biological Systems and Processes – LISBP-
  • The TWB Toulouse White Biotechnology demonstrator.

To download all services offered by the I-ferm federation

. © INRA

L’Institut Carnot 3BCAR©

The aim of the 3BCAR© Carnot Institute is to facilitate and promote partnership research and offer access to research laboratories for industry. Each year, it funds several upstream (revitalisation) projects which aim to generate innovations for the future that can be transferred to industry.

Contact : Alexandre Brosse – manager - alexandre.brosse@inra.fr – tel : +33(0)1 42 75 93 82
Inra Transfert - 28, rue du Docteur Finlay -75015 Paris – France

3BCAR© networks:

510 research scientists
400 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows
12 research laboratories
4 transfer centers
1 industrial technical center

Key figures:

300 research contracts with 200 private sector actors
600 A-ranking publications
25 current patents

. © INRA