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Preserving African food microorganisms for Green Growth

Press release   •   Jan 30, 2014 11:20 UTC

Chr. Hansen in new CSR project with University of Copenhagen.

A new four-year project aiming at isolating and scientifically characterizing West African microorganisms has kicked off on January 1, 2014. The aim is to turn the regional food sector into a driver of sustainable growth, improving food security and alleviating poverty.

The project partially builds on a new (2013) PhD thesis by a former PhD student with Chr. Hansen, David Bichala Adimpong from Ghana, on the characterization of lactic acid bacteria from indigenous African fermented foods.

The major part of West African foods are fermented and play a predominant role in the diet of West Africans. Fermented foods have many advantages; they are produced from local crops, at reduced energy cost, they are nutritious and generally free from pathogens, they have a long shelf life and can be stored unrefrigerated.

As part of the collaboration between Chr. Hansen, the University of Copenhagen (lead institution with Professor Lene Jespersen as coordinator), another Danish institute and four African universities, Chr. Hansen will host a new African PhD student in the project, which is supported by Danida under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Part of innovation strategy
“We have a long and successful tradition of cooperating with PhD students as an inspiration and source of new knowledge. In return we can help developing countries develop and use fermentation technologies to improve food and health,” says Kim Ib Soerensen, Senior Principal Scientist, Innovation, Chr. Hansen.

“Partnering with students and universities has always been a part of our innovation strategy, and with our new overall business strategy Nature’s no. 1 an even stronger link has been established between innovative ideas and global challenges in relation to food security such as declining productivity in agriculture, food loss in the value chain and food safety”.

Creating shared value
Henriette Oellgaard, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Chr. Hansen, could not agree more:
"Projects like this have a great potential for both the international students, for their countries and for Chr. Hansen’s business. It is a true example of creating shared value, which CSR is all about," she states.

Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. The products include cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors, and all solutions are based on strong research and development competencies coupled with significant technology investments. Revenue in the 2013/14 financial year was EUR 756 million. The company holds a leading market position in all its divisions: Cultures & Enzymes, Health & Nutrition and Natural Colors. It has more than 2,500 dedicated employees in over 30 countries and main production facilities in Denmark, France, USA and Germany. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen.

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