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15 November
31 December 2006

Etude et développement de ferments lactiques

Etude et développement de ferments lactiques

Study and development of dairy starters


Dairy starters have been a traditional topic of research at CRA-W since 1936 when the Ministry of Agriculture charged the former Dairy Station to develop custom made yogurt. Such home made milk transformation activities were extended from 1948 on by acquiring the first kefir starter. During the seventies this item evolved also with an industrial orientation as an aromatizing dairy starter was selected in order to improve the quality of pasteurized butter made in a continuous process.
During that same period the Dairy Station responded to the need of innovation of dairy transformation processes by developing a new product that became a clear success later on: the ready-spreadable butter even when stored in a refrigerator. This product contributed to the rise of the last big Walloon butter factory.
Presently there is an even greater need to enlarge the industrial possibilities but the food context of today imposes a dietetic orientation of the new offered products. Through its reputation of being health beneficial and its particularity as a starter, kefir opens the way to numerous innovating possibilities in this field.
Another priority raises from the local socio-economical environment: the support to farm transformers in their urge to diversification. Be it for cheese or butter making, the fermentation of milk or cream is an extremely delicate process, often difficult to control in traditional rural structures. However, the quality of the products like constancy or factors of durability rely on it.


To develop new products of dairy fermentation in phase with the dietetic and /or functional food trend of the present food market.
To provide a technological assistance regarding dairy fermentation to dairy transformers.

Expertise recognized at the International Dairy Federation in traditional microbiological methods of enumeration and identification.
Application of molecular biology methods to the identification of lactic acid bacteria.
Expertise in dairy starter cultivation and storage.
Craftsmanship in traditional fermentation technologies of yogurt, kefir and fresh cheese.
Advising service for possible dairy transformers (small and large ones). The experience of the CRA-W in dairy fermentations has been available to the large public for a long time through its “Starters service” (Service des ferments). This tool for diffusion goes far beyond the Walloon region by helping and advising manufacturers of fermented milk and fresh cheese.
Selection and distribution of yogurt, kefir and cream starters.

Expected results

Development of a starter conferring particular dietetic properties on fermented milk.
Extension of expertise in fermentation to other types of dairy products (butter, cheese).


  • CRA-W - Walloon Agricultural Research Centre


Gilbert BERBEN Véronique NINANE Céline AERTS
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