Telling Our Story of the Microbiome at Danone Research & Innovation

Fortune Magazine: ‘’Danone’s Big Bet on Tiny Bacteria’’

On the 8th May, Danone Research & Innovation had the great honor to welcome well known investigative Journalist, Erika Fry of Fortune. Erika’s visit was inspired from her research into the microbiome and proved to be an invaluable opportunity to underpin Danone’s leadership in this field of research. Leader among the economic monthly magazine’s Fortune enjoys a readership of greater than 5 million having a huge exposure in the US.  The output of her visit was captured very eloquently in the publication of “Danone’s big bet on tiny bacteria” a powerful prose focusing on the cutting edge expertise of Danone, cross divisionally, in spearheading the research into the microbiome.

The article begins by presenting Danone Research & Innovation’s “airy life sciences lab on the fourth floor” and continues that Danone’s undisputed heritage in gut microbiota research has given us a “pronounced ‘headstart’” with over 100 clinical trials and more than 40 academic or commercial collaborations. Focusing specifically on Early life Nutrition, the author dials up the importance of supporting the appropriate development of the “baby gut” and the role of human milk as a ‘starter kit’. Most compelling is the reference to the programming effects induced by the microbiome: “Babies born preterm or via cesarean section, and who are in general exposed to antibiotics early on, have been found to be at higher risk for health problems like asthma, allergies, and obesity later in life.”

The success of the storyline could not have been possible without the expert knowledge of our very own Professor Jan Knol who has devoted over 18 years of his academic career to solving the mysteries of the gut.  From small beginnings when he and his colleagues “painstakingly analyzed the effects of baby formula by hand, counting bifidobacteria – in babies’ stools”, to present day wherein “he has more baby-stool data than even the best bioinformatics could make sense of”. Finally the article capitulates in translating these scientific insights into real life products: “Last year Danone introduced a formula with synbiotics—a mix of prebiotic fiber (scGOS/lcFOS) and bifidobacteria (M-16V). Launched in Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand, it will soon roll out to other parts of the world”.

You can find the full article here.