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UniLaSalle research digs with earthworms

CESI graduates, Alexandre Bocage and Théo Saint-Martin have decided to put their skills at the service of more sustainable agriculture. To develop their range of vermicompost, the two self-employed have chosen to establish a partnership with the AGHYLE Research Unit of UniLaSalle, specialized in Agro-ecology.

“UniLaSalle is a privileged and important partner! » . Director of Veragrow, which has just been labeled a  “Deep Tech start-up”  by BPI France and recognized  as a “remarkable initiative by INITIATIVE France” , Alexandre Bocage, welcomes the collaboration initiated with the Rouen engineering school . 

It is indeed alongside researchers from the AGHYLE Unit (AGroecology, HYdrogeochemistry, environments and resources) and more particularly with the team specializing in research in microbial soil ecology, that the start-up he founded in 2019 is developing a biostimulant solution from vermicompost:  “While traveling around the world, we discovered the vermicomposting technique somewhat by chance and more particularly the so-called continuous flow method” , continues Alexandre. Veragrow will be created immediately after. 

A lasting partnership with the AGHYLE Research Unit of UniLaSalle.

One thing leading to another, the two engineers developed a process that made it possible to extract the active ingredients from the digestate of earthworms, which was then used as a biostimulant or coating for seeds:  “We had the solution, but we lacked scientific support and the access to a laboratory developing approaches in microbiology and biotechnology in order to develop our product”,  continues Alexandre,  “Doctor Isabelle Gattin who heads the AGHYLE Unit to whom we presented the project was immediately very interested! » . 

This collaboration motivated the recruitment by Veragrow of a student from the UniLaSalle campus in Rouen as part of an R&D internship specially dedicated to the launch of the project:  “I am doing my 6 months of end-of-study internship with the objective of developing a viable liquid solution for the end of 2020, so that marketing can be launched in the spring of 2021” , explains Elise Roger, student at UniLaSalle,  “My work consists in developing a liquid biostimulant based on the intestinal flora of the earthworm and this involves planning the experiments, carrying them out, analyzes in the UniLaSalle laboratories and interpreting the results”. 

The first results are conclusive and the funding granted by the French Tech emergence grant from BPI, recently approved, shows the interest aroused by Veragrow. But for the management team, there is no question of resting on its laurels, the UniLaSalle laboratories should continue to welcome work on vermicompost and vermicompost tea:  “There are still a lot of things to do! “says Alexandre Bocage, “So I think this partnership will be sustainable! “. 

Article : UniLaSalle