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2019/ Life abounds in food– microbes from the soil to our belly

For its 8th annual meeting, the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems invited you to discuss the topic ‘Life abounds in food– microbes from the soil to our belly’

Friday 15 February 2019 at Montpellier SupAgro

Microbes—long associated with disease and decomposition—are now being rehabilitated. Whether they be soil microorganisms, intestinal microbiota or the many different ferments used in food processing (bacteria, fungi, yeasts), microbes are essential for the development of animals and plants, their nutrition, immune system and even behaviour. How can this microbial diversity be preserved? What are the health roles of intestinal microbiota? What are the secrets of fermented foods? How do we define ourselves in relation to the universe of microbes that greatly outnumber us? The meeting showcased this invisible world.

In partnership with:
La Panacée

The meeting was interlaced with films of the La Nuit du Vivant series, directed by Geneviève Anhoury (Production: Ex Nihilo, CNRS Images, in association with Universcience).
View the series (in French)


 Anne-Lucie Wack, Philippe Petithuguenin, Marie-Stéphane Maradeix, Opening speech

 Damien Conaré, Secretary General, UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems, Conference presentation

Inaugural conference
 Marc-André Selosse, biologist, French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), ‘Never alone – microbes that fabricate plants, animals and civilizations’

Session 1 – Beneficial microbes
 Lionel Ranjard, ecologist, INRA Dijon, Agroecology joint research unit (UMR), ‘Soil microbiological quality benefits agricultural production’

 Sylvie Lortal, food technologist, INRA Rennes, Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs joint research unit (UMR), ‘Ferment biodiversity – bacteria, yeast and fungi – for food processing’

 Anne-Marie Cassard, INSERM Research Director, endocrinologist, Paris-Sud University, ‘Intestinal microbiota – a vector of human health’

Discussion – Eating living microorganisms to enhance livelihoods – interactions with the invisible world
 Perig Pitrou, anthropologist, Laboratory of Social Anthropology, Collège de France/CNRS, and Luna Kyung, artist-author-chef, South Korea, Discussion

Session 2 - Microbes of pleasure
 Tagro Guehi, biologist, Nangui Abrogoua University, Abidjan, Côte-d’Ivoire, ‘Fermentation to boost the organoleptic quality of cocoa’

 Francis Ossey Atse, President of the Abocanin d’Akoupé Agricultural Cooperative, Côte-d’Ivoire, ‘Testimony’

 Lauriane Mietton, baker, Le pain des Cairns production cooperative (SCOP), Grenoble, ‘Bread quality – embracing the diversity of wheat, bacteria/yeast and practices’

 Jean-Yves Bizot, winegrower, manager of Domaine Bizot, Vosne-Romanée (Burgundy), ‘What is a natural wine?’

 Muriel Figuié, sociologist, CIRAD, Conclusion of the meeting