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Brussels, 28 June 2000

Invitation to the press

EU research leads to a major innovation for agro-food industry

Keywords: Agro-food, human food, soy

On 13 July, the successful outcome of an EU-funded research project will be inaugurated by Commissioner Philippe Busquin. The research team will demonstrate at a new facility in northern France that the forage crop lucerne (also called alfalfa) can be used to produce high value-added ingredients for food, feed and pharmaceutical applications. The participants acknowledge the fact that the EU's support has not only provided a financial contribution, but also helped to stimulate and structure the project. This new success also highlights the role of research as a development factor for traditional industries.

Until now, processing lucerne (alfalfa) was a low-tech industry that produced dry lucerne and a crude protein extract used in animal feed.

In 1997, an EU-funded project - Fralupro - brought six mainly industrial partners together (listed next page) with the aim of demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of using a technology to extract a high-value protein from lucerne which had been devised by France Luzerne with the project's partners (Alfa-Laval Separation AB and the "Centre de Valorisation des Glucides et Produits Naturels"). The completion of this international effort is embodied in a fully functioning demonstration pilot plant recently built at France Luzerne's site.

This protein, called Rubisco, could substitute soy (mainly imported from the US, Argentina and Brazil), as a source of plant protein in many food applications. It can be used as a nutritional or functional food ingredient, and as a concentrated animal feed. Over the medium to long term, the plant of France Luzerne could produce 1,200 tons per year of Rubisco, at a cost almost identical to soy. This constitutes a major innovation for a traditional industry that is currently only viable through EU subsidies. Furthermore, the technology could be used to extract other proteins with high value applications in pharmaceutical and cosmetics.

A press event will take place on Thursday 13 July 2000, from 11:30 to 15:00, at France Luzerne headquarters, Chalons-en-Champagne, near Reims in France. Journalists interested in attending the event should notify Michel Claessens or Stéphane Hogan as soon as possible so that practical arrangements including transport from Brussels can be made:

Stéphane Hogan, Quality of Life programme, Research DG
Tel: +32-2-296 29 65; Fax : +
E-mail: Research Contact

Michel Claessens, Communication Unit, Research DG
Tel: +32-2-295 99 71; Fax: +32-2-295.82.20

Chalons-en-Champagne, 13 July 2000

Press event programme

08:15Departure from Brussels (optional) 
11:30Introduction Mr Philippe Busquin, European Commissioner for research
11:40Presentation of the Fralupro projectDr Bernard Petin, General Director, France Luzerne
Mr Pascal Doyard, President, France Luzerne
Mr Olivier Pauwels, Alfa Laval Separation AB
12:10The economic impact of the Fralupro projectMr Albert Vecten,
Senator, President, Conseil général de la Marne
13:15Departure for the visit of the plant 
14:00WelcomeMr Bichat, President, Europol-Agro
14:45ConclusionMr Jean-Claude Etienne,
President, Conseil régional de Champagne-Ardennes
15:00Return to Brussels (optional) 

The Fralupro consortium:
Coordinator of the project:

France Luzerne (France)

Other partners:

Alfa Laval Separation AB (Sweden)
ORFFA/Pomosin Pectacon BV (The Netherlands)
Reckitt & Colman PLC (United Kingdom)
Celtest Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Centre de Valorisation des Glucides et Produits Naturels (France)

CORDIS DatabaseFor more information on this project,
go to the CORDIS Database Record

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PRESS RELEASES | 29.06.2000