Fast-tracking probiotic potential


Fonterra is taking another step in leveraging its expertise in probiotics by partnering with APC Microbiome Ireland, a world-leading Science Foundation Ireland research centre that is focused on harnessing the power of the microbiome for the health and wellbeing of people and planet.  

The partnership will focus on the human microbiome and will see the establishment of the Fonterra Microbiome Research Centre at the University College Cork, to be operational by the end of 2023.

The centre will help to identify and substantiate the health benefits of Fonterra’s probiotics, with the aim of bringing several new probiotic strains to the market over the next 5-10 years. 

L-R: Prof. John O’Halloran, President UCC; Dr. Shalome Bassett, Programme Leader Scientific Affairs, Fonterra; Dr. James Dekker, Platform Manager, Fonterra; Prof. John Cryan, VP Research & Innovation, UCC; Dr. Brendan Curran, General Manager, APC; Prof. Paul Ross, Director, APC

With an increased awareness of the positive impact probiotics can have on health and wellbeing, more people are looking to include them in their diet. As this awareness continues to grow, the development of probiotic products holds enormous market potential for Fonterra. 

There has been a dramatic increase in demand for Fonterra’s probiotics recently, with sales increasing about ten-fold over the last few years. Harnessing the expertise of APC Microbiome Ireland will enable Fonterra to fast-track development of new strains to manufacture and sell at a global scale. 

Leading in dairy innovation and science to create high-quality nutrition is core to Fonterra’s strategy and probiotics are a significant focus. Fonterra is already well positioned in this space: the Co-operative is home to one of the world’s largest dairy culture collections (more than 40,000 strains) and has been developing probiotics for nearly 30 years.

This will expand Fonterra’s health and nutrition expertise and accelerate our development of new and differentiated nutritional offerings.

Dr Mark Malone, GM Science Technology, Fonterra

Fonterra GM Science Technology Dr Mark Malone says the Co-operative is looking forward to working with the APC. 

“This new partnership with the APC is a fantastic opportunity for Fonterra to collaborate with world leading experts in the field of probiotics and microbiome research. This will expand Fonterra’s health and nutrition expertise and accelerate our development of new and differentiated nutritional offerings.” 

Professor Paul Ross, Director APC Microbiome Ireland, is also excited about the opportunities the partnership presents. 

“This is a significant development for the APC, and we are thrilled to be working together with Fonterra. This latest collaboration with industry underlines the APC’s reputation as a global leader in microbiome research and our expertise in supporting new product development with our Irish and international industry partners.”  

Probiotics (live, beneficial microbes) have long been proven to have a positive impact on our gut health. They can help to balance the trillions of bacteria living in our gut, known as our gut microbiome, and may also help to improve gut comfort and protect us from the bad microbes that for instance cause diarrhoea. However, it’s important to remember that only those strains with a scientifically demonstrated effect on health, such as Fonterra's Bifidobacterium animalis strain BifidoB 019 (DR10TM) should be called probiotics. Read more about the power of probiotics here.