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Puratos, LM-UGent and iMEAN join forces to create a unique genomic database and develop innovative clean(er) food solutions

30 Aug 2022


We are happy to announce a new collaboration between Puratos, a Belgian group, which offers a full range of innovative food ingredients and services for the bakery, patisserie and chocolate sectors, the Laboratory of Microbiology of Ghent University (LM-UGent), and iMEAN, a French bioinformatics start-up based in Toulouse.

The goal of this partnership is to create a one-of-a-kind genomic database of food-grade bacteria that will make it possible to identify enzymes and molecules with specific functionalities. Ultimately, this will result in more innovative, clean(er) ingredients for the food industry and consumers. 

Food Innovation For Good

Since Puratos was founded in 1919, it has been driven by a passion for innovation, helping its customers around the world to produce and deliver nutritious, healthy and tasty food to their local communities. Puratos is recognized in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate markets for its ability to innovate and offer truly disruptive food solutions with the best nutritional value possible, never compromising on taste, texture, quality or safety.

“Puratos’s purpose is to move the planet forward by creating innovative food solutions for the health & well-being of people everywhere. The partnership with the Laboratory of Microbiology of Ghent University (LM-UGent) and iMEAN is the reflection of this purpose.”, states Filip Arnaut, R&D Director of Puratos. "This unique database is based on the combination of food-related strains and their annotated genomic data and metadata, which will help Puratos create clean(er) ingredients with numerous additional benefits for the benefit of our customers and consumers.”

One database, endless possibilities

LM-UGent researchers have been studying the diversity of micro-organisms in various ecosystems, among which food products, since the early 1990s. During these ecology and diversity studies, a collection of more than 100,000 bacterial isolates was obtained and preserved. The collaboration between Puratos and LM-UGent has resulted in an annotated genomic database of 1000 food-grade microorganisms from the LM-UGent private strain collection.

“At LM-UGent, we exploited our comprehensive genomics expertise to create a database with 1000 genomes of food-grade microorganisms. This database represents a novel strain discovery platform and offers a unique opportunity to open up our private strain collection for valorization in the food industry.”, states Prof. Peter Vandamme, group leader in the LM-UGent lab and director of the BCCM/LMG bacteria collection.

Thanks to iMEAN’s distinctive expertise in micro-organism metabolism as well as bio-informatics and software development, it was chosen to lead the construction of the database and development of a web interface to import, visualize and query all the data. The database does not only contain genomic data of the microorganisms but also all metadata available related to the strains such as origin, environmental pH, temperature, humidity, oxygen, sugar and salt concentration, one of the features that makes this database unique. 

“At iMEAN, we share the strong belief that studying and understanding living organisms will help to accelerate innovation in many fields of industry. We are convinced that this database will allow to identify and produce food products of great value.”, said Lucas Marmiesse, Co-founder and CTO of iMEAN.

This database will allow Puratos and LM-UGent to search and identify specific enzymes and metabolic pathways that can be used to produce enzymes or molecules with interesting functionalities that can be used in the food industry.

For more information, please get in touch with us!