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Agrauxine Experts – Priscilla POIRIER

Interview of Priscilla Poirier, R&D & Quality Control Manager at Agrauxine by Lesaffre, who joined the company in June 2018.

Could you tell us more about your role and your daily missions at Agrauxine by Lesaffre?

I’m working on the production site of Agrauxine by Lesaffre, in Loches, as R&D and Quality Control Manager.  The site specializes in the production of fungal biomass (spores of fungi) for Agrauxine products, but also for other partners as a subcontractor. This fungal biomass is produced by solid state fermentation: the fungi grows on a solid matrix – cereals in this case.

I have a polyvalent role and my daily missions are therefore varied. One of my missions is to optimize the spore production, either via production feasibility studies for external clients or via process optimization projects meant to improve yield.

As Quality Control Manager, I also ensure the quality of all the products made onsite is closely monitored and that batches are released only when they are conform – meaning they answer the client’s expectations.

I get to be in contact everyday with teams onsite (production, maintenance, administrative team) but also with other Agrauxine departments not located in Loches: regulatory, marketing, technical development, the US site… I also exchange a lot with people within Lesaffre group, whether with the R&D team or with other business units (Phileo, Envera…). Having the opportunity to collaborate with and benefit from all the expertises present in Lesaffre is a chance for a small structure like ours.

What are the benefits of Solid State Fermentation?

The solid state fermentation process makes it possible to produce quality fungi spores in big quantity. It is the most adapted process as it mimics the natural habitat of fungi. In nature, fungi grow on earth, on trees, on plants… The spores we produce can be preserved longer than if they were produced via a liquid fermentation process.

Diversifying the activity is part of my mission. Solid state fermentation is a specific tool whose use is not widely spread in Europe currently. Yet, it can serve for other purposes than producing biocontrol products. Our technology can be used in the human and animal nutrition, and even in cosmetics. Compared to other processes of production, like liquid fermentation, solid state fermentation requires less water and less energy. There is a lot of enthusiasm for this type of process as the industry has been facing growing environmental challenges these past years. When I arrived 6 years ago, I immediately saw the opportunity and the multiple possible applications. This fascinated me. Now the scopes of the projects are getting bigger. We work with different entities of Lesaffre for which the properties of the fungi we produce here can be interesting. It’s a potential additional business for Agrauxine but also for the group on a larger scale.


Do you have in mind a contribution you are particularly proud of since you work at Agrauxine by Lesaffre?

Agrauxine being a young and thriving company, it was mandatory to structure the R&D and Quality Control services on the production site. I’m proud to have contributed to this structuration with the help of the team in Loches. Since my arrival in the company, my team and I have industrialized the production of about thirty strains. And we have quadrupled the activity of the laboratory by doubling the team in the Quality Control service. An important step in the life of the society has also been the acquisition of an American company. I’ve done several round trips to the US to work on different projects with the team onsite: projects from formulation to the alignment of quality control methods.


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