100 Years Since Creating its First Yogurt, Danone Opens Access to its Historical Collection of 1,800 Strains

Celebrating 100 years since the creation of its first yogurt, Danone today announced it will open its collection of 1,800 strains for research purposes. This includes granting access to its current collection of 193 lactic and bifidobacteria ferment strains deposited at the National Collection of Cultures of Microorganisms, held in the Biological Resource Center of Institut Pasteur (CRBIP). Danone will also open its collection of over 1,600 strains at its Research & Innovation center in Paris-Saclay to researchers around the world, with the aim of sharing Danone’s legacy for the benefit of all.

The announcement furthers Danone’s commitment to promoting open science, a movement toward openness in scientific research, sharing and development of knowledge through collaborative networks. It also contributes to delivering on Danone’s 2030 Goals[1], and, most importantly, the company’s objective to serve the food revolution with partners.

Building on Isaac Carasso’s legacy to further research into the role of ferments in gut and overall health

The announcement was welcomed by the Institut Pasteur, the internationally renowned center for biomedical research set up by Louis Pasteur in 1887, today a world-leading global research center with a network of 32 institutes throughout the world.

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 Institut Pasteur into the role of ferments in gut and overall health. Faced with the poor gut health affecting Barcelona’s children, Isaac was moved to act, and began selling his first yogurts fermented with lactic ferments in Barcelona’s pharmacies. 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 – special bacteria which can, for example, 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 utilised to date. They 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.

Promoting open science as part of Danone’s 2030 Goals to create sustainable value          for all

Speaking at a two-day event celebrating Danone’s 100 years with partners and thought-leaders in the food, health and sustainability space, Danone’s Chairman & CEO Emmanuel Faber said: “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. 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 towards a healthier and more sustainable world.”

This initiative is part of wider efforts by Danone to promote open science. Danone Nutricia Research recently joined forces with the California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) to advance the understanding of the connection between the diet and human gut through The Human Diets & Microbiome Initiative[2]. Through scientific partnerships and wider collaborations to encourage open science and innovation, Danone progresses on its journey towards its 2030 Goals, and more specifically serving the food revolution with partners. These initiatives also connect with Danone’s ambition to become a global B CorpTM [3], using business for good to create sustainable value for all.



Building on Danone’s legacy dual business and social agenda, we see driving sustainable growth as going hand-in-hand with generating a positive societal and environmental impact. Danone aims to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices, in line with our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision which reflects a strong belief that the health of people and that of the planet are interconnected. To bring this vision to life, we have defined the Danone 2030 Goals that are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations and that have been constructed on the basis of a holistic strategy, with the aim to create and share value for our shareholders and all of our stakeholders. The set of nine integrated goals is built on three interdependent pillars. The business model includes the goal to be certified as a B CorpTM on global level, speaking to a commitment to transparency and trust. Our trust model expresses that Danone wants to generate growth in an inclusive way, through internal and external collaborations. And at the heart lies our model of Manifesto brands that stand for a purpose, acting upon our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision through their respective stances.


Danone Nutricia Research and the University of California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) have joined forces to advance the understanding of the connection between the diet and human gut thanks to The Human Diets & Microbiome Initiative (THDMI). The ambition of THDMI is to address 2 main goals through the American Gut Project’s expertise and infrastructure, under The Microsetta Initiative (TMI) umbrella:

  1. Collect human microbiota samples across different countries for mapping the Human Microbiota with a more global population representation and to a higher sequencing resolution.
  2. Improve on the collection of the participants corresponding diet habits to increase the knowledge of the microbiome’s impact on human health, with an ultimate goal to develop nutritional tailored solutions for a healthy gut.

The Center for Microbiome Innovation exists to inspire, nurture, and sustain vibrant collaborations between UC San Diego Microbiome experts and many industry partners. The CMI encompasses a large range of expertise in microbiome sampling, a broad range of technologies (metagenomics, metabolomics, metatranscriptomics) and data analysis using high-performance algorithms, machine learning, and modeling. The Microsetta Initiative is an expansion of the original American Gut Project to represent its global growth with projects such as British Gut Project and other international reach.
To find out more: http://jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news/news_releases/release.sfe?id=2713


In this increasingly complex world, big brands and companies are fundamentally challenged as to whose interests they really serve. At Danone, we are convinced that addressing this issue in straight and simple terms is the best way for our company and our brands to reinforce trust with employees, consumers, partners, retailers, civil society and governments. That is why we joined the B CorpTM movement.
B CorpTM is a sustainable business certification launched in the U.S. in 2006 that has been gaining momentum around the world. In line with Danone’s vision, the B CorpTM movement works to drive a cultural shift to redefine business success. B Lab, a non-profit organization, accredits B CorpTM certification to for-profit companies that demonstrate high standards of social and environmental performance. Danone’s ambition is to be among the first food multinational companies to obtain a global certification. We are partnering with B Lab to build the roadmap toward this goal. 
Our ambition to obtain this certification is an expression of our long-time commitment to sustainable business and to Danone’s legacy dual project of economic success and social progress. Our objective is that all of Danone entities are B CorpTM certified by 2030. At present, 11 entities and over 30% of our global sales is covered by B CorpTM certification.

About Danone 
Dedicated to bringing health through food to as many people as possible, Danone is a leading global food & beverage company building on health focused and fast-growing categories in three businesses: Essential Dairy & Plant-based products, Waters and Specialized Nutrition. Danone aims to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices, in line with its ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision which reflects a strong belief that the health of people and that of the planet are interconnected. To bring this vision to life and create superior, sustainable, profitable value for all its stakeholders, Danone has defined its 2030 Goals: a set of nine integrated goals aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Danone commits to operating in an efficient, responsible and inclusive manner; it holds itself to the highest standards in doing business, as reflected by its ambition to become one of the first multinationals certified as B CorpTM. With more than 100,000 employees, and products sold in over 120 markets, Danone generated €24.7 billion in sales in 2018. Danone’s portfolio includes leading international brands (Actimel, Activia, Alpro, Aptamil, Danette, Danio, Danonino, evian, Nutricia, Nutrilon, Volvic, among others) as well as strong local and regional brands (including AQUA, Blédina, Bonafont, Cow & Gate, Horizon, Mizone, Oikos, Prostokvashino, Silk, Vega). Listed on Euronext Paris and on the OTCQX market via an ADR (American Depositary Receipt) program, Danone is a component stock of leading social responsibility indexes including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Vigeo Eiris, the Ethibel Sustainability Index, MSCI Global Sustainability, MSCI Global SRI Indexes and the FTSE4Good Index.