The bioeconomy

A growing biomanufacturing sector at Genopole

The bioeconomy is a major axis for Genopole. The sector is growing on a foundation of progress in sequencing technologies, advances in synthetic biology and the promising possibilities of certain innovations on several markets. Thirty biocluster companies are active in this sector rich in disruptive innovations empowering both the industrial future of France and the environmental protection of the planet. Also, the academic actors Genoscope (CEA) and its Genomics Metabolics mixed research unit contribute to the sector’s growth via the sequencing of numerous plant species and the analysis of bacterial genomes, all sources for novel functions.

Research and R&D at Genopole explore many facets of the bioeconomy, in fields such as envirotech (biodetection of pollutants), agritech (responsible agricultural practices, alternative proteins, etc.) and industrial biotechnologies (biofuels, ingredients, materials, aromas, cosmetics, etc.).

Genopole was France’s pioneer site for synthetic biology, which continues to be highly present at the biocluster. The field directs lab-cultured microorganisms toward the production of compounds of interest for industry. Today’s objective is the pre-industrial deployment of the specialty. Thereto, Genopole launched a "biofoundry"-style integrative platform project for synthetic biology in 2021. Also to support its position, Genopole sponsored the March 2021 Bioket event, which was focused notably on innovative biomass pretreatment, process modeling and advanced fermentation. There, Genopole provided a plenary presentation entitled "Synthetic biology, a multi-stage rocket for the bioeconomy?".

Year 2021 also saw the conceptualization of a foodlab, named Protopia, that will take the form of a shared-use laboratory with the equipment necessary for research on new foods and protein alternatives. Genopole’s objectives with this initiative are to respond to the needs of its growing number of accompanied start-ups and to attract new businesses with a structure currently unique in Île-de-France. In this manner, Genopole intends to consolidate its bioeconomy strategic sector. Indeed, this latter is an increasingly dynamic entrepreneurial space in sync with the expectations of society and industry, and an object of growing attention from investors.

"The Biofoundry will be a place of innovation and acceleration for bioeconomy actors."

Christophe Lanneau, director of Research & Platforms at Genopole
Visite presse

Press visit: Greener industries thanks to biotechs

Genopole held a press visit 16 December under the banner "Biotech Innovations for More Sustainable Industry" with the goal of spreading the word on the biocluster’s commitment to bioindustry. After a presentation on GIP Genopole’s orientations by Chief Executive David Bodet and Director of Research & Platforms Christophe Lanneau, the journalists visited the laboratories and interviewed the heads of six of the biocluster’s biotechs active in the fields of agro-industry, nutrition, cosmetics, textiles and pharmacy: Abolis, Algentech, Anova-Plus, EverDye, Synovance and WatchFrog. Each is forwarding a biosourced innovation contributing to the development of more responsible, energy-efficient and cleaner industrial processes. The visit resulted in reports on the major French radio stations France Inter and Radio Classique and in several specialized magazines.

Abolis contribue à la relocalisation des productions

Abolis contributes to manufacturing relocalization

Abolis conceives and develops microorganisms able to produce compounds of industrial interest. In November, the company was granted €900,000 from France Relance’s "Relocalization in Critical Sectors" call for proposals.

"This State support will help us relocalize production in numerous fields such as health, nutrition and chemistry via the use of vanguard technologies like synthetic biology," comments Abolis CEO Cyrille Pauthenier. "These bioprocesses impact the environment less than conventional processes do and contribute to securing supply chains." The subvention from the French State will enable the acquisition of new technological tools, making the company able to conduct more projects in parallel and thus accelerate the production of compounds of interest in France and Europe.

Pierre-Loïc Saaidi de Genoscope au micro de France Culture

Genoscope’s Pierre-Loïc Saaidi interviewed on France Culture

On 9 September, teaching researcher Pierre-Loïc Saaidi was interviewed on "The Scientific Method," a program by France Culture, a major French public radio station. In that interview, he described the technology his team at Genoscope (CEA/CNRS/University of Évry-Paris Saclay) used to discover the degradation of chlordecone underway in West Indies soils. Chlordecone is an insecticide that was banned in 1993 and previously thought to be non-biodegradable. It continues to pollute the soils, waters and coastlines of the West Indies, and remains detectable in the blood of 90% of the islands’ inhabitants. That discovery by the Évry team gave hope of possible environmental remediation but raised questions on the resulting transformation products: their number, their toxicity and the new contamination risks they may create for foods and the ecosystem.

une année clé pour Ÿnsect

2021: a key year for Ÿnsect

Year 2021 was an important one for Ÿnsect. In April, it became international with the acquisition of Protifarm, a Dutch company specialized in the production of mealworm-based dietary ingredients for human consumption. Because the company was thereto specialized in animal nutrition and natural fertilizers, the acquisition also represents Ÿnsect’s first steps into human nutrition, particularly dietary supplements for athletes and the elderly, noting that the use of mealworms for human nutrition is now authorized in Europe. Finally, the acquisition will also increase manufacturing capacities, with the addition of Protifarm’s vertical farm, which produces 1,000 tons of product yearly, to Ÿnsect’s sites at Dôle and Amiens.

chimie verte pour Algentech

A world’s first in synthetic biology and green chemistry for Algentech

The Genopole company Algentech has achieved a world’s first by developing a high-yield production system in plant chloroplasts. Their unprecedented approach earned publication in Nature Plants on 21 June, and with it, Algentech has become an actor in biosourced production in France, ready to welcome industrial partnerships across numerous sectors. Their technology is deployable notably for the production of proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes, therapeutic compounds and other molecules of interest for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, food & agriculture, energy and other industries.

fixateurs d’azote dans les océans

Looking for nitrogen-fixing marine organisms

Genoscope researchers contributed to the world’s first inventory of the nitrogen-fixing organisms present in all of the Earth’s oceans. Because they capture atmospheric nitrogen and make it available to other life forms, these microorganisms, called diazotrophs, are an indispensable element of the oceanic ecosystem. The researchers took advantage of the thousands of ocean plankton samples collected from across the globe by the Tara Oceans expeditions. They combined high throughput analyses of DNA sequences and an artificial intelligence approach applied to millions of microscopy images of plankton samples. The team established the global abundancy, diversity and distribution of diazotrophs, creating thus precious data in a context of global climate change and disruption of the marine nitrogen cycle.

Global Bioenergies

Global Bioenergies brings its biosourced makeup to market

In June, Global Bioenergies reached a milestone in its history with the market launch of its makeup line LAST, the first ever, according to the company, to marry naturalness and durability. "We are marketing a line of products using bio-based isododecane, the primary ingredient in long-lasting mascaras and lipsticks, representing as much as 25 to 50% of their formulas. Previously, isododecane has always been petroleum-based," explains Global Bioenergies CEO Marc Delcourt.

The company chose to invest in the cosmetics market, where the higher price of biosourced isododecane compared to its petroleum-sourced equivalent is more acceptable to a clientele increasingly seeking naturalness in products. A large range of mascaras, eye shadows and lipsticks, all containing more than 90% natural ingredients, is available at the Colors That Last website.

Glowee’s bioluminescence lights the city

patents protect our expertise

Glowee selects marine bacteria and leads their evolution in the lab to increase their bioluminescent capacities with no direct genetic manipulation. The start-up has made great progress in terms of light intensity and has thus decided to target the urban lighting market, proposing a range of novel street furniture to collectivities, promotors and urbanists. For example, the company has created a meeting spot in the form of a small oasis of freshness with plants and the soft light of bioluminescence to make it easy to find. "Both the environmental impact and the light pollution generated by our biological lighting are much lower than those of conventional lighting," explains Glowee founder and CEO Sandra Rey, who recently signed a partnership with the city of Rambouillet for a pilot project in bioluminescent street furniture.

bioluminescence de Glowee

Complete sequencing underway for the banana

Nine years after their first publication of the banana genome, the national sequencing center Genoscope and the organization Cirad have teamed again to fill in the remaining holes in the genomic sequence of Musa acuminata. Calling upon the ability of nanopore sequencing to read very large DNA fragments, the researchers successfully established the entire, gapless sequences of five of the fruit’s eleven chromosomes. The importance of the work resides in its contribution to identifying genomic regions of agronomic interest, those involved in disease resistance for example, in one of the world’s most widely-consumed fruits.

Séquençage intégral en cours pour le bananier

Europe supports Algama’s fish alternatives

In October, the food technologies company Algama received a €2 million subvention from the European Commission to develop its algae-based substitute for fish. The company aims to finalize its R&D on a range of vegan products imitating smoked salmon slices and morseled tuna. The subvention was obtained from a call for proposals by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.