XYLOBIOTECH, Forest biotechnologies
Site de Cestas: FCBA - Site de Recherches Forêt Bois de Pierroton - 71, Route d'Arcachon - 33610 CESTAS
Site d'Orléans : INRA - Centre Val de Loire - 2163, Avenue de la pomme de pin - CS 4001 Ardon - 45075 Orléans Cedex 2
FCBA / Cestas site


INRAE / Orléans site



The XYLOBIOTECH platform is based on a close partnership (since 2004) between the FCBA and INRAE which aims to develop and promote the use of biotechnologies in the forestry sector. XYLOBIOTECH responds to the research, training and service needs expressed by research teams, companies or associations in the domains of vegetative propagation, cryopreservation, traceability (molecular marking) and micro-phenotyping (histocytology) of forest genetic resources. It also offers recognized expertise in the genetic transformation of forest trees for experimental purposes. Finally, the bio-protection of trees (use of symbiotic microorganisms) is a new area of expertise for the platform.

XYLOBIOTECH relies on the experts (researchers, engineers and technicians) and facilities (laboratories and specialised greenhouses, including type S2 greenhouses) of the Biotechnologies and Advanced Forestry Cluster (BSA) of the FCBA (Cestas site near Bordeaux) and the Integrated Biology UMR for Enhancing Tree and Forest Diversity (BioForA) of the INRAE (Ardon site near Orleans). XYLOBIOTECH is referenced by ERIFORE, the European forest research infrastructure development project for a circular bioeconomy.

Services offer

The XYLOBIOTECH platform's operating Charter and list of services can be consulted on the website.

Their activities mainly focus on:

  • Vegetative propagation of deciduous and coniferous trees via classical (grafting, cuttings) and in vitro (micro-grafting, micro-cuttings, somatic embryogenesis) methods. This activity is carried out in laboratories, in vitro culture chambers and automated greenhouses.
  • Cryopreservation of pollen, seeds, buds, apexes, meristems and embryogenic masses with various techniques (dormant tissues/organisms, slow cooling, encapsulation/dehydration, vitrification, etc.).
  • Genetic transformation for functional genomics based on applying Agrobacterium to model species: poplar for broadleavesand maritime pine for conifers. This activity takes place at facilities especially equipper for the manipulation of genetically modified organisms, for example, the S2 type greenhouse at FCBA and the Tree Cell Engineering Laboratory (LICA) at INRAE.
  • Molecular marking for rapid diagnosis of traceability, diversity and genetic composition (PCR-AFLP/RFLP, SSR, SNP) for a wide range of forest species.
  • Cross-disciplinary expertise in histocytology for the microphenotyping of research products (confocal laser microscopy, fluorescence stereomicroscopy, Imager).

The platform provides expert consulting and R&D services for regional, national and international projects. It is also involved in academic training and continuing professional education. XYLOBIOTECH provides a rental service for certain equipment.


A support team of 13 permanent employees (8 at FCBA and 5 at NWRI) ensures the proper management of the XYLOBIOTECH platform, carries out the various projects and develops new technologies. Governance is ensured by the support team and the User Committee (9 members including 3 representatives from the private sector). XYLOBIOTECH is strongly supported by contributions from scientists and engineers at FCBA/BSA (4) and INRAE/BioForA (3).

Operations and data access

XYLOBIOTECH's services are open to all academic actors, associations, companies and industrials. Questions and requests for access to XYLOBIOTECH equipment and services should be addressed to Magdalena KUTNIK (FCBA site, coordinator of the platform) or Françoise Laurans (Orléans site). Access conditions for both the FCBA and INRAE sites are described in the operating charter and on the website.

To define, implement and manage user projects, XYLOBIOTECH:

  • Provides trained and competent personnel.
  • Offers high-performance, well-maintained equipment.
  • Makes the techniques associated with this equipment available.
  • Trains users in using the equipment and provides technical assistance.
  • Implements a management system that optimizes the platform's capacity to conduct projects and analyses in accordance with user requests.
  • Provides users with regular progress reports.
  • Communicates analysis results as soon as possible.
  • Guarantees the confidentiality of the project’s nature and results.

Do you wish to benefit from the XYLOBIOTECH services?

Please send your request by e-mail or phone the person in charge of the appropriate XYLOBIOTECH site (FCBA or INRAE) to explain the analysis you wish to carry out and the technique you wish to use. Be sure to specify the species concerned, the number and type of samples, the technique or equipment desired and any other useful information relating to your project.

After your request has been examined by our experts (feasibility study), we will propose a project to meet your expectations (service provided by the platform's staff, use of the equipment yourself, collaborative research project, academic or professional training). Once all the necessary documents have been completed, your project work can start. We will inform you of the biological, packaging, transport and storage conditions to respect. If you are working on site, we will provide you access to use of the laboratories and equipment as well as the necessary initial supervision in terms of health and safety.


Pricing is defined on a case-by-case basis by the XYLOBIOTECH partners (FCBA and INRAE).


  • Pricing takes into account the cost of opening and managing the project; the full cost of labour for the FCBA/BSA staff involved in services, providing user information and training; consumables and includes a contribution to overheads. Special financing arrangements can be made within the framework of specific contracts (large volumes, R&D projects in which FCBA is a partner).


  • Pricing differs according to the type of user:
    • Marginal cost for users from an EPST (Public Scientific and Technical Establishment) including cost of using laboratories/equipment and labour (excluding public salary).
    • Full cost for private users including cost of use of laboratories/equipment and labour (including civil servant public salary) and including  structural costs.

Click here for the list of available XYLOBIOTECH facilities.

Major facilities include:

At the FCBA Bordeaux site

  • An in vitro culture laboratory (206 m² with a production capacity of 30,000 plants): preparation, autoclaving and automatic distribution of culture media, 4 laminar flow hoods (8 work stations), 3 transparent culture chambers (24 m²), 1 opaque culture chamber (17 m²), a 4°C cold storage chamber (7 m²), 3 climatic chambers, 2 drying ovens, magnifying glasses and optical microscopes, observation cameras.
  • A cryopreservation cell (16 m²): 7 cryopreservation freezers, 2 for the liquid phase and 5 for the gaseous phase, with automatic nitrogen adjustment (storage capacity: 38,000 samples), a programmable nitrogen freezer (capacity: 100 samples), a common supply ramp for the cryopreservers, 2 feeders (300 L of nitrogen), a security alarm control unit (oxymetric sensor), a specialised database to manage the frozen samples (Coolbase).
  • A genetic transformation laboratory (20 m², protected access): PSII bacteriological hood for microbiology, bacteriological ovens and freezers,
  • A molecular biology laboratory (126 m²): DNA extraction, purification and dosage, automated pipetting robot, DNA PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis and capillary electrophoresis for genotyping (SSR markers, in particular).
  • An automated experimental greenhouse (422 m²) to acclimatise and breed in vitro plants, with 140 m² reserved for the cultivation of transgenic plants (S2 type confined greenhouse, protected access). This space also hosts projects in the field of tree bio-protection (inoculation of mycorrhizae and endophytes).
  • A conventional greenhouse (384 m²) for hardening, collection and propagation by cutting.
  • A high-capacity climatic chamber (phytotron) to study the effects of environmental parameters (temperature, photoperiod) on potted plants.

At the INRAE site in Orleans

  • A laboratory for the preparation of histological sections of plant tissues: a microtome, inclusion, coloration.
  • A confocal laser scanning microscope (Zeiss LSM700): 3D imaging to localise gene expression and/or the presence of certain chemical constituents of plant walls (measurement of intra/intercellular traffic, in situ localisation, immunolocation).
  • An automated fluorescence stereomicroscope (Leica M205F): to localise fluorescent molecules.
  • A Pxi imager (Syngen Ozyme): to reveal chemiluminescence on western, northern and southern blots.

Modification date: 16 August 2023 | Publication date: 17 May 2018 | By: Gilles Pilate