CNRS (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique) focuses on foundational research. Local partnerships show how that research can be put to work….
The best of the best in bacterial chemistry
Based in Marseille, the Mediterranean Institute of Microbiology of the CNRS is France’s largest research center. Research Center Director Vincent Méjean directs a team of ten: five staff, consisting of a director, a lecturer, a professor and two researchers — plus five post-doctorate students. Méjean is passionate about micro-biology and HTS Mag visited with him earlier this month to find out more about his team’s collaboration with HTS BIO.
Eye on the microscope, feet on the ground
For more than 20 years, Vincent Méjean has worked hand in hand with HTS BIO.
This has been possible because, since 1986, the government has enabled CNRS’ local researchers to work on research projects with private enterprises. The synergy this creates is a win for everyone:
- Businesses benefit from cutting-edge, new research, while researchers profit from seeing ‘real world’ applications of their work.
- CNRS diversifies its revenue source.
- Companies are able to leverage CNRs’ advice and expertise.
But the collaboration between HTS BIO and the CNRS doesn’t stop there: over the course of several months, the research center and HTS BIO “shared” a doctoral student whose research was focused on de-pollution.
PCR: a rare and precious specialty
Vincent Méjean is a world-renowned specialist in PCR (English abbreviation for “polymerase chain reaction”). PCR enables:
- Duplication of the DNA sequence (many millions in just a few hours!) starting with one sample(1),
- Positive identification of a DNA sequence, meaning of one singular species.
Why is this significant to HTS BIO? PCR is an important application in forensics and medicine, but it is also of great importance to HTS BIO because “it enables the attainment of a genetic profile for the entire collection of our bacterial strains” explains Jean-Philippe Dos Santos, technical and scientific director of HTS BIO. This ensures quality control.
- Ensures the purity of a batch of bacteria used for HTS products: the genetic profile of a bacterial strain is tested for conformity.
- Enables ongoing monitoring? For example, for a construction zone undergoing bioremediation (biological depollution), HTS BIO uses bacteria selected for their ability to digest pollutants at the work site(2). Thanks to PCR, HTS can verify that this waste-digesting bacteria is always present in the environment during the depollution process — and in sufficient quantities to complete the job.
Harmful! Disease Carriers! Dirty and Repulsive! This is the unflattering image that bacteria is burdened with. And, while this certainly is true of some strains of microorganisms, there are many, many other strains that are, quite simply, microscopic superheroes.
These ‘good’ bacteria can adapt to any environment, resist temperature changes and even survive in extreme conditions. Did you know, for example, that certain bacteria live and reproduce at a temperature greater than 100 °C? Or that others have the ability to cause metal to precipitate?
As you can imagine, these exceptional ‘super powers’ inspire many businesses to put these micro-superheroes work.
Live raw materials
HTS BIO products include ‘live raw materials’ or materials derived from living organisms. This is the core of HTS BIO’s biotechnology(3).
HTS BIO’s ‘live raw materials’ are microorganisms (bacteria) selected for their ability to digest organic matter, which are important components of many of our cleaning and waste-degrading products. And, the materials we derive from living organisms form biosurfactants, which are active wetting agents produced by micro-organisms, and are critical to the super-efficiency of our cleaning products.
Because biosurfactants can not be chemically reproduced, it is important that the bacteria that produce them are nurtured, nourished and provided with a suitable living environment …exactly as we would if we were raising animals!
This win-win partnership with CNRS demonstrates that research is an invaluable source of innovation and holds the promise of a more “ecologically correct” future. And this, as our products demonstrate, is exactly what HTS BIO is committed to!
(1) PCR is an in-vitro gene amplification molecular biology method which enables large duplication (with a multiplication factor at a range of a billion) of the ADN or ARN sequence, beginning with a weak quantity (at a range of a few pictograms) of nucleic acid. Source: wikipedia. To learn more above PCR: click here.
(3) Read: Biotechnology for dummies