Ecological efficiency and economic return
MYCOPHYTO is working on restoring natural balances by developing innovative solutions based on the restoration of resilience and nature. MYCOPHYTO implements natural biological technologies for agriculture and the environment, which take into account societal expectations and economic performance. The MYCOPHYTO concept is based on an observation: increasing and managing natural biodiversity in an agroecosystem makes it more robust and more resilient in the face of pests, climate risks, or a scarcity of resources only when biodiversity is carefully managed.
Ecological efficiency and economic return
MYCOPHYTO proposes revitalising cultivable soils with exclusively indigenous micro-organisms. Mycophyto does not replace chemical products with organic products. Instead, the Mycophyto innovation is based on the natural synergies between plants and microscopic fungi (AMF) in soils capable of interacting with plant roots. Agritech offers biological solutions determined according to a given terrain and using only native micro-organisms. Its patented processes multiply the concentration of fungi present in the soil, determine the effective plant-fungal combination, and set up the symbiotic interaction.
Mycophyto products have a double action: increasing plant nutrition quality and yield.
A team of recognized experts, high-tech standards
Justine Lipuma, President of SAS MYCOPHYTO. Ph.D. biology from the University of Nice,a specialist in plant-micro-organism interactions and symbiotic mycorrhizal interaction. The microbiological techniques necessary to select for symbiotic fungi (culture in selective synthetic media) and molecular biology techniques to characterize these fungi (selection for markers), as well as the in vitro culture (plants and fungi), are specific technical skills that she has mastered perfectly after four years of work in the laboratory. In addition, Justine Lipuma has also developed innovative scientific work on improving the efficiency of microbial symbiosis.
Christine Poncet, co-founder and agricultural engineer, graduated from ENSA Toulouse, Scientific Director of a scientific competition between INRA and MYCOPHYTO. INRA employee (high0level research engineer) and deputy director and innovation manager of the INRA Agrobiotech site in Sophia Antipolis, she has supervised numerous international projects. She regularly speaks at international conferences on agriculture and agroecology. She is in charge of projects related to the regional development dynamics and designing innovative production systems that are more respectful of the environment. Her overall objective is to achieve savings in inputs: water, fertilizers, pesticides, and energy and, at the same time, to promote the use of sustainable alternatives. In addition, Christine leads the Scientific Committee set up by MYCOPHYTO.
Strong regional ties to the scientific ecosystem, an extensive network of partners
MYCOPHYTO is based in Sophia Antipolis and has offices, greenhouses, and laboratories at the INRA Sophia Antipolis site and at the Village By CA, as well as additional greenhouses at the Lycée Agricole in Antibes.
This single site comprising 4,500 m2 of greenhouses, offices, and laboratories is at the heart of MYCOPHYTO’s development project.
Committed and aggressive female entrepreneurship
“Reconciling Nature and its biodiversity to feed us better and sustainably preserve the future and the health of future generations.”
At its core: the conviction and the unique scientific expertise of two women
Ph.D. in microbiology, Justine Lipuma, returned from her collaboration with the University of Turin in 2015 with unique experience and knowledge of plant-microorganism symbioses and their beneficial effects on agroecosystems.
Driven by an unfailing determination that has motivated her since the age of fourteen, she focused her university career on providing benefits to the agricultural sector, which she knows well, having done her secondary studies at an agricultural high school. Her objective is to promote biological tools that are effective for sustainable agriculture
without adding chemical inputs, such as by using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).
At the end of 2015, Justine Lipuma met Christine Poncet, then-deputy director of the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute (INRA – French National Institute for Agricultural Research), in charge of innovation. Christine Poncet is an internationally recognised expert in agricultural production systems that are more respectful of the environment, particularly in designing and validating alternatives to chemical pesticides.
ERIK ORSENNA, financial and strategic support
A few months after its first fundraiser, Mycophyto was joined by academician Erik Orsenna, a nature enthusiast and specialist in raw materials. Below, he shares with Mycophyto his long-term vision of agriculture, his understanding of the issues, and support for his innovative solution.
Excerpt from the interview with Erik Orsenna published by La TRIBUNE, Tuesday, 20 October 2020
Did you take part in Mycophyto’s last funding round? How and why?
In the beginning, I was a professor of raw materials economics, particularly agricultural raw materials, and I have always been passionate about these issues. I got in touch with Alain Poncet, who was then in charge of the French development company, Compagnie d’Amenagement des Coteaux de Gascogne (editor’s note: the water management organisation on the left bank of the Garonne), the brother of Christine Poncet, co-founder of Mycophyto with Justine Lipuma. And above all, for fifteen years now, I have been working on issues of globalisation, cotton, water, paper, mosquitoes, pigs, etc. After my research on rivers, which is almost finished and has taken me ten years, my next study will be on soils. All roads led me to Mycophyto.
What will you bring to Mycophyto?
They are 40 years younger than me. I will bring my experience, and they will bring their fresh ideas. That’s what I call … a crew. What I can also contribute is the story, the words to build a story. It is clear that, at all levels, on the personal, company, and national levels, it is impossible to generate momentum without a narrative. Putting ideas and convictions into words is essential. And also, I have experience working with start-ups that have found success, thanks to the story, network, and a few other methods.
What are your hopes and dreams for the development of Mycophyto?
What is marvellous is that growth is never abstract, never above ground for me. And what is interesting is this link with a research centre known worldwide, Sophia Antipolis, but also with the different regions. No soil is homogeneous, and each needs its own diagnosis and an appropriate response to each diagnosis. It’s a bit like medicine … and that goes hand in hand with what I do with Pasteur, for which I am the ambassador. At its heart, Mycophyto is almost like breathing life back into the soil, a bit like a vaccine awakens potential immunological processes in each organism. I would define myself as an inquisitive person and a lover of the possible; the quest is real. I see a wonderful, enthusiastic team seeking to answer a fundamental question about our future.