The Breizh Algae Tour 2017 took place in Brittany, France, from 10-13 September, 2017. This year’s Olmix Group’s annual meeting shed light on the scientific and technical progress in research on algae and their key role in nutrition and health for plants, animals and humans.
Olmix Group went back to its roots to celebrate a new edition of the Breizh Algae Tour. There was no better place but Brittany, where it all began in 1995, for the Group to welcome more than 800 attendees from 43 different countries and host its international symposium ‘A healthy food chain for a balanced microbiome, Thanks to Algae!’.
Following the Olmix Group’s philosophy, this year’s event highlighted the latest progress on the innovative programmes that Olmix is carrying out to grow plants, raise animals and process food without pesticides, antibiotics and chemical additives, thanks to its algae technology. Indeed, Olmix strongly bets on Algae to build a ‘HealthSea foodTech’ and it is investing in tools for R&D to improve its technologies but also to reach new concepts such as feeding animals with a percentage of algae up to 10% in the diet of beefs, pigs or poultry to transfer the benefits from Algae to meat, egg or milk.
Sunday, 10th September: Olmix Group welcomes PRP Technologies
After announcing the takeover of PRP Technologies –French specialist in biostimulants for agroecology– on June the 30th, it was only natural that Mr Hervé Balusson, Olmix Group’s President & CEO, opened the Breizh Algae Tour 2017 by shedding some light on this major collaboration:
“This year’s Breizh Algae Tour is different because today we are welcoming our new colleagues from PRP Technologies. I am sure that Olmix Group and PRP Technologies can make history together. We are growing every year and I am sure we will continue expanding our philosophy all around the world”, Mr Balusson said during his opening speech.
Mr Hervé Balusson welcomes the guests of the Breizh Algae Tour 2017.
Monday, 11th September: conferences at the Breizh Algae School
If algae are considered to be the business core of Olmix Group, where else could the Breizh Algae Tour take place but in the Breizh Algae School? As the world’s first algae institute that focuses on scientific and technical progress in algae, the School was without doubt the best place to host the Olmix Group’s ‘A healthy food chain for a balanced microbiome, Thanks to Algae!’ symposium. There, plenary sessions in the morning featured top-class speakers that dealed with diverse speeches related to the microbiome as a key factor for the health of plants, animals and human beings.
Once again, Mr Hervé Balusson opened the symposium by giving a warm welcome to the attendees and introducing the main topics of the session. On stage also was Dr Martin Scholten, General Director Animal & Marine Sciences at the Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands), who delivered a clear message on the importance of sea resources for feeding people in the future and pointed out the correlation between health and Algae:
“The importance of microbiome for human health has been proved. ‘HealthSea foodTech’ is a new concept that we all have to live with from now onwards”, he said.
Mr Hervé Balusson: 'A healthy food chain for a balanced microbiome, Thanks to Algae!’. Opening speech.
Then, Mr Michel Neunlist, Director of Research UMR INSERM U913 (Neuropathies of the Enteric Nervous System and Digestive Diseases, Nantes, France), kicked off the morning session by delivering a presentation about the proved connection that exists between the gut and the brain:
“The gut was the first neurological organ in evolution. There is a tight correlation between the gut and the brain. The microbiota by itself is nothing; the food we eat is going to modify the composition of this microbiota. As you know, microbiota has been proved to play a key role in facing diseases. But so is diet, which is going to help us treat these diseases. Actually, recent studies show that isolating the gut from the brain reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease”.
Dr Martin Scholten: 'HealthSea Food for the Future'.
Mr Michel Neunlist: 'Microbiota Gut Brain Axis: at the command of our health and well being'.
Secondly, Mr Philippe Potin, Director of Research CNRS 8227 at the Biologic Station of Roscoff UPMC (Roscoff, France) gave an interesting overview about the seaweed microbiome and the importance of bacteria and other environmental factors to boost algae properties and benefits.
“Algae are not isolated. They are associated to a large amount of bacteria and interact with many environmental factors. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that specific bacteria work in harmony with algae and have a great impact on their reproduction system. This is very important when it comes to algae cultivation”, he explained.
So, the gut is our original brain and has to be taken care of. Algae can bring part of the solution to interact with the microbiota and the intestine, our second brain but can also be a source to use less pesticides, less antibiotics and less chemical food additives. But how can this be?
To give an answer to this question, several Olmix Group representatives showed the different methods and strategies that the company posseses to reach a healthy food chain by producing with no pesticides, antibiotics, and chemical additives, through 3 different fields of activity: Plant Care, Animal Care and Human Care.
Mr Philippe Potin: 'Seaweed microbiome: Importance for cultivation, food & biotechnology'.
For Plant Care, Mr Johannes Tuinhof, Melspring’s Commercial Director, first showed the targets of the Olmix’s Plant Care porftolio: “Our vision is clear: we want to go from pest to health. That means healthier plants, less diseases and an integrated plant care management”.
Then, Ms Danièle Marzin, Olmix Group’s Marketing Director, took the lead and went on stage to talk about antibiotic resistance in animal production and how Olmix’s Animal Care solutions can help to raise animals in a full, healthy way:
“Antibiotic resistance is growing and animal welfare is compulsory. Thus, better quality food and safety is demanded. To meet this target, we have several collaborations all around the world that allow us to develop our technologies in a scientific way. Our three Animal Care ranges are ‘For Farm’, ‘For Feed’ and ‘For Vet’. Antibiotic-free production thanks to algae is no longer a dream, it is a reality”, she explained.
Mr Johannes Tuinhof: 'Olmix Plant Care'.
Ms Danièle Marzin: 'Olmix Animal Care'.
Mr Hervé Demais, Scientific Advisor for Olmix Group, was the one to share some information about Olmix Human Care and the perspectives of this division in terms of human health and welfare.
“The Olmix Human Care division aims to offer natural solutions based on algae by developing ingredients for food, nutraceutical and human health industries. There is a bright future ahead of us since algae opens up perspectives for its potential use in everyday human care", he cited.
Finally, Mr Stéphane Couton, SOVIPOR’s Commercial Director (Olmix Group – Turkey processing), contributed to this antibiotic-free vision with some interesting points that were a great example of the high interest that the animal industry is currently showing towards this trend:
“We are on our way to raise turkey without antibiotics. We have the tools to make it possible thanks to algae. We will work hard so 20% of our turkey meat production will be antibiotic-free by 2020”, he said.
Mr Hervé Demais: 'Olmix Human Care'.
Mr Stéphane Couton: 'Turkey: Raised without antibiotic treatment since the hatching'.
To sum up, Olmix group believes in Algae to build a ‘HealthSea foodTech’ and is investing today in R&D programmes to improve its technologies and prove its concepts: using algae to reduce pesticide and antibiotic residues in meat, or using algae directly as ingredient in processed food or as supplement in the diet could be one way to influence the microbiota and consequently human health. Another vision also consists in feeding animals (pig, poultry, beef…) with a high percentage of algae in the diet to transfer the benefits of algae to meat, egg or milk!
Official commitment of the European Investment Bank to support the development of Olmix Group
The ‘HealthSea FoodTech’ concept, bringing health through the power of algae is now imbedded in the future of Olmix. One project demonstrates this concept more than anything else: the Breizh Algae-SAGA project. To develop this project Olmix looked for financers and raised up to €70 million. One of the major financers, the European Investment Bank, took the opportunity of the Breizh Algae Tour to officially sign a €30 million funding boost to the French Group.
“We are pleased to contribute to the Olmix Group's projects and initiative: The global ‘HealthSea foodTech’, thanks to algae is an ambitious vision for the future. Everything is possible on your side”, Mr Fayolle said before signing the official papers at the same time as Mr Balusson. It was a significant picture which represented the present and the future of Olmix Group.
Mr Hervé Balusson, and the European Investment Bank, represented by its Vice-President Mr Ambroise Fayolle, went on stage to officially sign a €30 million funding boost to the French Group.
Visits to the Olmix and PRP factories and Gala Dinner
After an intense morning, participants of the Breizh Algae Tour could taste an exquisite and quite special meal for lunch: algae-fed barbecue beef, raised by the farmer Mr Guillaume Deslandes!
Later on, they visited the Olmix and PRP Technologies factories, both based in Bréhan (France), where they got to know about the daily duties of the R&D Department and the products lifecycle management.
Breizh Algae Beef truck.
A group of guests attends the explanations at Olmix production plant.
But the Breizh Algae Tour had yet more to offer. As an icing on the cake, participants had the chance to relax and enjoy a pleasant atmosphere at the Breizh Algae Tour’s Gala Dinner.
Accompanied by live music, all delegations came up on stage and sing together some traditional songs from every country gathered in the hall. The day ended in a warm atmosphere, where people could exchange and discuss their views and ideas about the plenary session and plan further fruitful collaborations Thanks to Algae!
Representatives from Vietnam took the stage to sing traditional songs.