Université de Lorraine


France is the world’s leading exporter of malt and the second largest exporter of malting barley. The raw material (grain) used in malting can be attacked by potentially pathogenic organisms that can affect the safety and technological characteristics of the finished product, in particular in a context of increasingly frequent extreme weather events and reduced input use.

To meet societal and environmental expectations, from the authorities and consumers alike, the Actia Optimalt Joint Technological Unit aims to develop efficient, sustainable tools and/or processes to ensure the raw materials and products used in the French brewing industry meet its safety and technological standards.
This work focuses on biological control techniques applicable during processing, as well as varietal selection, in order to develop new, more resilient varieties that are tolerant of pests and abiotic stress. The work aims to meets the objectives of the French national bio-control rollout strategy.

The programme of this Joint Technological Unit, based in Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, was renewed in January 2022 for another five-year period.


Monitoring grain safety.
Collection of data for the annual grain safety monitoring system.
Technological and analytical monitoring of emergent contaminants.
Characterisation and monitoring of the grain’s endogenous microbiota using metagenomics.

Contribution of varietal genetics to grain safety.
Participation in the development of new, more resistant malting barley varieties.
Approval of the suitability of new barley varieties for the malting process.

Evaluation of technological solutions available during processing.
Monitoring other solutions (microorganisms, natural substances, etc.).
Characterisation of potential bio-control agents.
Development of rapid diagnostic tools for the identification of contaminated batches.

Impact on the raw materials and finished products.
Evaluation of the impact (nutritional, taste, environmental, etc.) of solutions on the quality of grain and the finished product.