OSIRIS: Development of droplet-based microfluidic platform for the high-throughput screening of industrial micro-organisms

Soufflet S.A., one of the leading French agri-food company, is leading a ground-breaking research project called “OSIRIS”. The Laboratory of Biochemistry at ESPCI-ParisTech and Maguin S.A.S., a leading French company in the ethanol-production industry are partners in this project partly funded by Oséo.

The goals of Osiris project are to develop:

  • New bioprotection culture systems for phytopathogenic micro-organisms, in order to reduce the use of chemical treatments that damage the environment.
  • New production processes for bio-fuels.
  • New ways to use agro-resources, especially in human and animal nutrition.

In the Laboratory of Biochemistry at ESPCI-ParisTech and in the Soufflet research center (Nogent-sur-seine, France) we develop microfluidic tools for the control of droplets dispersed in an oil phase (water/oil emulsion) within microfluidic channels. Each droplet is used as an independent microreactor with a volume from 10 pL to 10 nL. Individual operations on droplets are performed in elementary modules in a high-throughput manner (10 to 1000 droplets per second). The modules allow droplet production, droplet pair fusion, incubation, fluorescent detection, and fluorescent-activated sorting of the droplets. These modules can be integrated to the high-throughput screening of micro-organisms in droplets. In a single experiment, we can reliably encapsulate millions of micro-organisms (fungi, yeast or bacteria) in droplets (single organisms in each droplet) and measure their individual enzymatic activities. This technology allows the selection of the most efficient organisms among a population of variants. For this project we aim to screen organisms for activities involved in production of biotechnological products from a wide range of agro-resources and by-products.

For example, these biotechnological products will :

  • improve the yield of biofuel production,
  • boost the performance of cereals, oilseeds, protein crops used for animal feed,
  • protect culture from phytopathogenic micro-organisms.


Antoine Drevelle (PhD, Group Leader)

Estelle Mayot (PhD, Scientist)

I Putu Mahendra-Wijaya (PhD, Scientist)

Thomas Beneyton (PhD, Postdoc)

Majdi Najah-Lejmi (PhD student, Biotechnology Engineer)

Prexilia Postro (Technician)

OSIRIS’s R&D programme is worth a total of €77 million over a period of eight years and aims to produce tools for the rapid selection of micro-organisms, develop industrial solid-state fermentation processes and create specific biotechnology products to improve the yield of biofuel production from wheat and maize in particular. These biotechnology products should also boost the performance of cereals and oilseeds and protein crops used for animal feed and increase the yield of co-products of biofuel production. They will also generate health benefits for consumers of non-alcoholic beer and malted beverages. Finally, they will protect cereal crops from the disease fusariosis.
The programme is coordinated by the Soufflet group, a French family firm specialising in the collection and transformation of agricultural resources, which will cooperate with two other partners: the company Maguin and the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the ESPCI-ParisTech. The project is partly financed by Oséo.


The Soufflet Group is an agri-business which is mainly involved in the processing of two cereals, barley and wheat, both within France and the European Union (EU), and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

A key player

The Group is France’s leading privately-owned cereal collection company, and is also a “supplier, service-provider and partner” to the agricultural and Vineyard industries. A key operator in the global malt market, and one of Europe’s leading flour-milling companies, it is also present in the initial-processing markets for maize, rice and dry vegetables.

A wealth of different markets

The Soufflet Group is also a significant player in international Trading of cereals, oilseeds and dairy products. It markets a vast range of Rice and Pulse Processing destined for various types of customers: traditional producers, food manufacturers, catering companies and retailers.

Synergies producing optimum quality

All of these different fields of intervention represent a competitive asset for the Soufflet Group, and account for much of its success: its strategy of vertical integration and mastering the various stages of the production process helps to create synergies and optimise performance, and provides invaluable guarantees of quality.