Centers of R&D excellence

Image MicroArray RosellLallemand Health Solutions operates two principal research facilities:

The unit in Toulouse (France) is specifically dedicated to the development of new processes and technologies and the production of clinical research investigational products.

For its part, the research unit in Montreal (Canada) is composed of a laboratory dedicated to the strain characterization and the study of host-microbe interaction, the development and validation of alternative analytical methods, and serves as the location from which the clinical research program operates. The lab is located within the National research council of Canada (NRC) and is BioSafety Level 2-certified, thus authorizing the company’s expert team to study the impact of probiotics on the effects of pathogens.

In NRC, our unit’s research is focused primarily on five areas of interest:

Genetic identification and strain characterization
All strains are identifiez using their genetic fingerprints, and other edge-cutting methods. For the major strains, the whole genome sequencing has been performed. Moreover, Lallemand Health Solutions is studying the capacity of its strains to resist gastric acidity and bile, as well as their ability to inhibit the growth of other pathogenic microorganisms.

Assessment of microbiological safety
The company is studying the susceptibility of all its strains to a wide range of antibiotics and microbes. For each strain, detection of the presence of +350 bacterial genes known to be associated with resistance to antibiotics is carried out.  In addition, experimental studies are conducted for the presence of virulence factors and enterotoxins.

Detection and enumeration of microbes in complex environments
With the support of the whole genome sequence of a certain number of its strains, Lallemand Health Solutions has succeeded in finding some very specific sequences. Thus, the company is able to detect and quantify them in complex environments, such as blended products, animal pellets or stool samples.

Host-microbes interactions
Lallemand Health Solutions has developped a co-incubation model of human cell lines (e.g. epithelial cells, macrophages) and microorganisms. These human cells are  exposed to probiotics, pathogens, or combination of both. This allows the study of the impact of microorganisms on different human cellular responses using microarrays (e.g. whole-genome array) custom-made immune array) for the determination of what effects these substances have on human cells by establishing if they stimulate or inhibit the expression of certain genes.

Mode of action of probiotics
The company conducts research on various host-bacteria interactions thanks to its extensive scientific network of university researchers working on specific in vitro or animal models.

Clinical trials
Lallemand Health Solutions is the sponsor of more than a dozen clinical studies which are aimed at better understanding the properties, functions and beneficial effects of probiotics on health. Some examples of research areas the company is interested in are the effects of probiotics on antibiotic-associated diarrhea, immunity, the gut-brain axis, gastrointestinal health and cardiometabolic syndrome, to name a few.


Examples of  mechanistic studies

In a rat model of myocardial infarction, the oral probiotic preparation Probio’Stick® was shown to reduce the injury due to apoptosis in those areas of the brain, which control the limbic system, indicating a potential to diminish post-myocardial infarction depression (Arsenault-Bréard)

Research project showed the potential of L. helveticus R0052 against C. jejuni invasion of human epithelial cells, another significant bacterial pathogen. Indeed, while C. jujeni is known as the most common bacterial cause of enterocolitis in humans, the effects of probiotics against this key pathogen have been poorly studied. Interestingly, in the same study, the probiotic strain L. rhamnosus R0011 did not reduce pathogen invasion, which supports the concept of probiotic strain specificity: one strain cannot do it all (Zwolinska-Wcislo)

Research study looked at the impact of Candida albicans infection on the healing of ulcerative colitis in both patients and a rat model of the condition, and the potential of probiotics in reducing colonic inflammatory damages. It showed that:

a) the fungal infection delays healing of ulcerative colitis in humans and in a rat model and that b) both antifungal therapy and probiotic treatment could be beneficial in the restoration and healing of colonic damage in ulcerative colitis. (Wine)


L. helveticusR0052 but not inactivated cells or cells fragments, nor L.rhamnosus R0011 were able to prevent enterohemorrhagic E. coli (O157:H7)-mediated subversion of epithelial cell signal transduction responses. Thus, it is understood that L.helveticus R0052 acts as an anti-infectious agent, whereas L. rhamnosus R0011 acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. (Jandu)

This study shows that the administration of Lacidofil® (a specific blend of the two strains L. helveticus R0052 and L.rhamnosus R0011) in Citrobacter rodentium infected neonatal mice could prevent newborn death, and that this protection was mediated through the activation of adaptive immunity (T cells) and an improvement in intestinal barrier function. This was the first time that a probiotic preparation was shown to prevent death in neonatal mice infected with C. rodentium, a pathogen considered as an ideal model to study host-bacterial pathogen interactions in vivo (C. rodentium uses molecular mechanisms similar to enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in human). The authors suggested that these new findings support the use of probiotics in limiting the detrimental effects of enteric bacterial infections in neonates.(Gareau)