The National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) of France is a national public scientific and technological establishment, a leading agency for agricultural research in Europe, one of the three largest in the world. INRA has 9000 employees including more than 2000 researchers and engineers, in 340 research and experimental units (including 140 Joint Research Units (JRU) with other research organizations) belonging to 17 scientific research departments and located in 21 regional research centres spread throughout the country. INRA is taking up the scientific challenges of the life sciences, helping to accomplish profound changes in farming, responding to new demands from society (food safety and quality, ethics, science-society debate, etc.), by strengthening its resources in the development of sustainable agriculture, nutrition and its effects on human health, the environment and regional development, and by integrating them in the construction of the European Research Area, and by actively participating in the internationalisation of science. The 5 research priorities of INRA are: the environment and rural areas, human nutrition and food safety, integrative biology, bioinformatics, social sciences.
Two joint research units (JRU) mostly composed of INRA staff and one INRA research unit (RU) will participate in the HEALTHGRAIN project.
The JRU Amélioration et Santé des Plantes (UMR ASP) is located in the INRA research centre of Clermont-Ferrand. More than 30 permanent scientists develop researches on small grain cereals. Modern genomic tools are available for high throughput such as proteomic analysis and genotyping facilities. The first main objective is to understand, analyse and manage biodiversity of bread wheat, with the development of core collections and association genetics based on allelic variability at molecular level. The second main objective focuses on the understanding of environmental and genetic control of protein and starch accumulation using different genomic tools and candidate gene approach. Finally, UMR ASP is also in a process to describe the genes organization of wheat at the chromosome level with a major focus in the development of an assembled genome sequence of chromosome 3 B of bread wheat. UMR ASP is involved in module 2 of HEALTHGRAIN.
The RU Polysaccharides Organisations et Interactions (URPOI) is located in the INRA research centre of Nantes and is composed of 18 research scientists. URPOI is mainly concerned with enhancing the value of food and non-food plant resources, particularly polysaccharides (starch, cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectins). Special interest has been devoted in recent years to wheat endosperm arabinoxylans by the cell-wall group of URPOI (8 permanent staff) with all laboratory facilities for developing researches on the macromolecular characterization and physico-chemical properties of arabinoxylans; the development of dosage of arabinoxylans based on enzymic solubilization and IR spectroscopy; the development of cell-wall reference molecules for IR/UV spectroscopy database; the localisation of arabinoxylans in cell walls using microscopy and specific antibodies; the identification and quantification of wheat tissue based on multi-spectral approach and image analysis. URPOI is involved in module 2 of HEALTHGRAIN.
The JRU Ingéniérie des Agropolymère et Technologies Emergentes (UMR IATE) is located in the INRA research centre of Montpellier. 30 scientists carry out research on physical and physico-chemical processing of agro-molecules and the effects of structure on functional properties and end-use quality. The multidisciplinary approach includes process engineering and food quality analysis. The research group on grain fractionation and powder engineering (8 permanent scientists) which will be especially active in module 3 of HEALTHGRAIN, focuses on the study of the genetic and physico-chemical bases of texture and fractionation of grains; the investigation of the relation between structure and grinding behaviour in granular media with cementation; the characterization in situ of interactions within grain endosperm; the study of the physico-chemical and enzymatic mechanisms responsible for the structural organization of the outer layers of cereal grains. A transversal objective will consist of collecting and integrating the whole information into a database that can be exploited in various directions, and to allow a transition to simulation as well. This group uses different laboratory- and pilot-scale equipments for dry fractionation including experimental milling and debranning machines and various facilities for the characterization of samples at different scales (biochemistry, microscopy, spectroscopy, granulometry, rheology, mechanics...). The group collaborates with a great number of French and foreign research organizations, as well as with food manufacturers and machine builders.
Last updated on 2008-04-25 by Gertrud Linsberger-Martin