Research interests

  • Pollutant biogeochemistry
  • Microbial transformation and ecology in continental hydrosystems
  • Biodegradation of industrial and micropollutants in wetlands, soils and aquifers
  • Sustainability science: freshwater sustainability, resilience and adaptation of socio-hydrosystems

Current research

  • Transformation of micropollutants at the water-sediment interface, in agricultural soils, in urban setting and on the catchment scale with stable isotope fractionation (compound-specific isotope analysis)
  • Degradation of industrial (chloroethenes, dichloromethane) in aquifers with stable isotope fractionation (compound-specific isotope analysis)

Understanding the transport and transformation of pollutants from toxic and diffuse sources represents a major challenge in the 21st century, and have become of utmost importance for the preservation of soil and water resources. A significant fraction of industrial or agricultural pollutants used in urban or agricultural areas is mobilised from their sources and transported overland via runoff in freely dissolved form, and in less bioavailable colloidal or organic matter-bound forms. Pollutants also infiltrate into soil and sediments, and eventually reach the aquifer. Surface and sub-surface pollutant fluxes may be intercepted and transformed in transitional reactive zones of the landscape, such as wetlands or ground-surface water interfaces, before they reach other ecosystems. Reactive zones are ‘biogeochemical hotspots’, bearing dynamic interfaces between water, soil/sediment and microorganisms, and develop dynamic combinations of electron acceptors and donors reflecting microbial diversity and biogeochemical activity.

In this context, the fundamental questions that bother me are : what is the hydrological and biogeochemical functioning of these ‘hotspots’ with respects to pollutant transport and microbial transformation ? What are the taxonomic and functional diversity, physiology, and metabolism of microorganisms involved in pollutant transformation ? How do microorganisms respond to the pollution regime and hydro-biogeochemical fluctuations, and influence key ecosystem services (e.g. water quality improvement, flood abatement, biodiversity) ? My research principally revolves around the scientific underpinning of microbial processes in polluted agricultural systems, aquifers and wetland systems.

Curriculum

Since 2021Director of the Research Initiative in Sustainability and the Environment (RISE/FERED) (https://fered.unistra.fr/)
Since 2019Research Professor CNRS (DR)
2013Habilitation (HDR): Université de Strasbourg, France
Since 2009Research scientist: National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS, France (LHyGeS)
2008-2009Post-doc: Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry of Strasbourg (LHyGeS), UdS /ENGEES, CNRS ; Strasbourg, France
2005-2008Ph.D. thesis in Isotope Biogeochemistry: Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany (http://www.ufz.de). PhD Fellowships within Marie Curie ITN programme.
2003-2005Master of advanced studies in Hydrology and Water Resources Management : Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (EPFL), (ETHZ) and the Centre of Hydrogeology of the University of Neuchâtel (CHYN). Master thesis at IIT Chenai (India).
1998-2003Master in Biology (spec. Microbial ecology): University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

Current and recent research supports

  • 80|Prime 2020 : CNRS - Mission pour les initiatives transverses et interdisciplinaires | MITI. Biodégradation de micropolluants dans les nappesaquifères : couplage d’approches de géochimie isotopique et de génomique microbienne. PI. 2020-2023. Coll. : GMGM UMR 7156 Unistra.
  • NAVEBGO : Programme INTERREG V (European Regional Development Fund). Réduction de l’apport de biocides dans les eaux souterraines du Rhin supérieur. Full Partner. 2019-2022. Coll. : Uni Freiburg, Uni Luneburg, Uni Landau, UMR SAGE. https://www.navebgo.uni-freiburg.de/fr/navebgo-1
  • PESTIPOND : French National Research Agency (ANR). Role of ponds in the transfer and impact of pesticides in surface waters of the critical zone in agricultural environment. PI. 2019-2023. Coll. : INRAE (Anthony et Bordeaux), Ecolabo Toulouse, et 15 partenaires socio-économiques. http://pestipond.cnrs.fr/
  • DECiSIvE : French National Research Agency (ANR). Tracking degradation of soil pollutants with multi-elemental compound-specific isotope analysis. Full Partner. 2019-2022. Coll. INRAE (Dijon) et Uni Aix-Marseille.
  • 2D-DCM : EC2CO-INSU (CNRS). Transport réactif du dichlorométhane en aquifères de laboratoire. PI. 2017-2019. Coll. : GMGM UMR 7156 Unistra.
  • SERIOR:Graduate Academy « Security-Risk-Orientation ». Programme INTERREG V (European Regional Development Fund). Partner. 2015-2019.
  • PACOV:AERM (Rhine-Meuse Water Agency) and Alsace Region, « Plateforme Alsacienne du Cuivre d’Origine Viticole ». PI.
  • MicXtreme : (labEX G-EAU-THERMY 2014), Microbiology of the extremes : from the mineralosphere to the Soultz-sous-forêts geothermal plant. PI.
  • BioGeoLink : Biogeochemistry of organism-water-mineral interfaces : Initiative d’Excellence (IdEX), University of Strasbourg. Equipment grant : GC-C-IRMS.
  • CSI:ENVIRONMENT : Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) Call : FP7-PEOPLE-2010-ITN (7ème PCRD), « Isotope forensics meets biogeochemistry – linking sources and sinks of organic contaminants by compound specific isotope investigation ». http://www.csi-environment.ufz.de. Full partner (coord. UFZ-Leipzig).
  • PhytoRET : Potential of constructed wetland of the Upper-Rhine Region for the mitigation of pesticides. Programme INTERREG IV (European Regional Development Fund). Coord. team. 2011-2014.

Teaching, news and public conferences

Group members

  • Sylvain Payraudeau, (Prof) ENGEES (Contaminant hydrology and catchment hydrology)
  • Jérémie Masbou, (MCF) ENGEES (Environmental geochemistry)
  • Benoît Guyot, Engineer-CNRS (Stable isotope lab and chromatography)
  • Eric Pernin, Lab and field technician (experimental sites and lab)

PhD students

  • 2020 – 2023 : Adrien Borreca (Project 80 PRIME; co-advised with S. Vuilleumier, GMGM)
  • 2019 – 2022 : Tobias Junginger (Project NAVEBGO; co-advised with S. Payraudeau, ITES)
  • 2018 – 2022 : Maria Prieto Espinoza (Project 2D-DCM; co-advised with S. Weill, ITES)
  • 2017 - 2020 : Boris Droz (Project POLISO; co-advised with S. Payraudeau, ITES)
  • 2017 - 2020 : Guilaume Drouin (Project POLISO; co-advised with S. Payraudeau, ITES)
  • 2015 - 2019 : Pablo Alvarez (IDEX; co-advised with S. Payraudeau, ITES)
  • 2014 - 2018 : Fatima Meite (Project PACOV)
  • 2013 - 2017 :  Bastien Wild (Project labEX G-EAU-THERMY ‘MicXtreme’; co-advised with D. Daval, ITES/ISTerre)
  • 2011 -  2015 : Izabella Babcsanyi (Project PACOV; co-advised with F. Chabaux, ITES)
  • 2010 - 2014 : Marie Lefrancq (Project  INTERREG IV PhytoRET; co-advised with S. Payraudeau)
  • 2010 - 2014 : Elodie Maillard (Project INTERREG IV PhytoREET)

Post-Doctoral Researchers

  • 2021 - : Felix Kögler (Leopoldina fellow)
  • 2020 – 2021 : Rungroch Sungthong (Project DECiSIvE)
  • 2019 – : Tetyana Gilevska (Project PESTIPOND)
  • 2017 – 2019 : Paula Pérez Rodríguez (Project RhISOTOP)
  • 2016 – 2018 : Jérémy Masbou (Project SERIOR)
  • 2015 – 2018 : Charline Wiegert (Project PACOV)

Scientific contribution : recent and selection

(full list is provided below as pdf)

A) Peer-reviewed articles (ISI) (>75; orcid.org/0000-0002-7054-4666), here are the recent (last 3 years) and main review articles :

2022

  • Meite F., Granet M., Imfeld G. (2022). Ageing of copper, zinc and synthetic pesticides in particle-size and chemical fractions of agricultural soils. Science of The Total Environment, 153860.

2021

  • Drouin G., Droz B., Leresche F., Payraudeau S., Masbou J., Imfeld G. (2021). Direct and indirect photodegradation of atrazine and S-metolachlor in agriculturally impacted surface water and associated C and N isotope fractionation. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts. 23 (11), 1791-1802.
  • Imfeld G., Duplay J., Payraudeau S. (2021). Comment on ‘Ecotoxicity of copper input and accumulation for soil biodiversity in vineyards’ by Karimi et al. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 1-3.
  • Prieto-Espinoza M., Weill S., Belfort B., Muller E.E.L., Masbou J., Lehmann F., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G. (2021). Water table fluctuations affect dichloromethane biodegradation in lab-scale aquifers contaminated with organohalides. Water Research, 117530.                                                             
  • Droz B., Payraudeau S., Antonio Rodríguez Martín J., Tóth G., Panagos P., Montanarella L, Borrelli P., Imfeld G. (2021). Copper Content and Export in European Vineyard Soils Influenced by Climate and Soil PropertiesEnvironmental Science & Technology. 55, 11, 7327–7334
  • Wild B., Imfeld G., Daval D. Direct measurement of fungal contribution to silicate weathering rates in soil. (2021).  Geology. v. 49, p.
  • Droz B., Drouin G., Maurer L., Villette C., Payraudeau S. Imfeld G. (2021). Phase Transfer and Biodegradation of Pesticides in Water-Sediment Systems Explored by Compound-Specific Isotope Analysis and Conceptual Modeling. Environmental Science & Technology. doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06283
  • Drouin G., Fahs M., Droz B., Younes A., Imfeld G., Payraudeau S. (2021). Pollutant Dissipation at the Sediment‐Water Interface: A Robust Discrete Continuum Numerical Model and Recirculating Laboratory Experiments. Water Resources Research 57 (3), e2020WR028932
  • Hellal J., Joulian C., Urien C., Ferreira S., Denonfoux J., Hermon L., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G. (2021). Chlorinated ethene biodegradation and associated bacterial taxa in multi-polluted groundwater: Insights from biomolecular markers and stable isotope analysis. Science of the Total Environment 763, 142950
  • Höhener P., Imfeld G. (2021). Quantification of Lambda (Λ) in multi-elemental compound-specific isotope analysis. Chemosphere, 129232
  • Pérez-Rodríguez P., Schmitt A-D., Gangloff  S., Masbou J., Imfeld G. Plants affect the dissipation and leaching of anilide pesticides in soil mesocosms: Insights from compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA). (2021). AGEE 308 107257.
  • Imfeld G., Payraudeau S., Tournebize J., Sauvage S., Macary F., Chaumont C., Probst A., Sanchez-Pérez J-M., Bahi A., Chaumet B., Gilevska T., Alexandre H., Probst J-L.The Role of Ponds in Pesticide Dissipation at the Agricultural Catchment Scale: A Critical Review. (2021). Water 13 (9), 1202. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091202

2020

  • Imfeld G., Meite F., Wiegert C., Guyot B., Masbou J., Payraudeau S. (2020). Do rainfall characteristics affect the export of copper, zinc and synthetic pesticides in surface runoff from headwater catchments? Science of the Total Environment 741, 140437
  • Fournier B., Dos Santos S.P., Gustavsen J.A., Imfeld G., Lamy F., Mitchell E.A.D., Mota M., Noll D., Planchamp C., T Heger T.J. (2020). Impact of a synthetic fungicide (fosetyl-Al and propamocarb-hydrochloride) and a biopesticide (Clonostachys rosea) on soil bacterial, fungal, and protist communities. Science of The Total Environment 738, 139635.
  • Torabi E, Wiegert C, Guyot B, Vuilleumier S, Imfeld G. (2020). Dissipation of S-metolachlor and butachlor in agricultural soils and responses of bacterial communities: Insights from compound-specific isotope and biomolecular analyses. JES. 92, 163-175
  • Chevallier M.L., Della-Negra O., Chaussonnerie S., Barbance A., Muselet D., Lagarde F., Darii E., Ugarte E., Lescop E., Fonknechten N., Weissenbach J., Woignier T., Gallard J.- F., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G., Le Paslier D., Saaidi L. (2019). Natural chlordecone degradation revealed by numerous transformation products characterized in key French West Indies environmental compartments. Environmental science & technology 53 (11), 6133-6143. DOI : 10.1021/acs.est.8b06305

2019

  • Wild B., Daval D., Beaulieu E., Pierret M.-C., Viville D., Imfeld G. (2019). In situ dissolution rates of silicate minerals and associated bacterial communities in the critical zone (Strengbach catchment, France). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 249, 95-120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2019.01.003
  • Hermon L., Hellal J., Denonfoux J., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G., Urien C., Ferreira S., Joulian C. (2019). Functional genes and bacterial communities during dehalorespiration of chloroethenes in microcosms of multi-contaminated groundwater. Frontiers in Microbiology 10, 89.doi : 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00089
  • Zubrod J., Bundschuh M., Arts G., Brühl C., Imfeld G., Knäbel A., Payraudeau, Rasmussen J., Rohr J., Scharmüller A., Smalling K., Stehle S., Schulz R., Schäfer R. (2019). Fungicides – An overlooked pesticide class ? Environmental Science & Technology 53 (7), 3347-3365.
  • https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b04392

2018

  • Masbou J., Drouin G., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G.,(2018) .Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope fractionation during abiotic hydrolysis of pesticides. Chemosphere 213, 368−376.
  • Masbou J., Meite F., Guyot G., Imfeld G., (2018). Enantiomer−specific stable carbon isotope analysis (ESIA) to evaluate degradation of the chiral fungicide Metalaxyl in soils. Journal of hazardous materials 353, 99−107.
  • Wild B., Imfeld G., Guyot G., Daval D., (2018). Early stages of bacterial community adaptation to silicate aging. Geology 46 (6), 555-558.
  • Hermon L., Denonfoux J., Hellal J., Joulian C., Ferreira S., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G., (2018). Dichloromethane biodegradation in multi-contaminated groundwater : Insights from biomolecular and compound-specific isotope analyses. Water Research 142, 217-226.
  • Alvarez-Zaldívar P., Payraudeau S., Meite F., Imfeld G., (2018). Pesticide degradation and export losses at the catchment scale : Insights from compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA). Water Research 139, 198-207.
  • Eschbach D., Schmitt L., Imfeld G., May J.H., Payraudeau S., Preusser F., Trauerstein M., Skupinski G., (2018). Long-term temporal trajectories to enhance restoration efficiency and sustainability on large rivers : an interdisciplinary study. , Hydrology and earth system sciences 22(5), 2717-2735.
  • Meite F., Alvarez-Zaldívar P., Crochet A., Wiegert C., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G., (2018). Impact of rainfall patterns and frequency on the export of pesticides and heavy-metals from agricultural soils. Science of the Total Environment 616-617:500-509.
  • Lange J., Olsson O., Sweeney B., Herbstritt B., Reich M., Alvarez-Zaldivar P., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G., (2018). Fluorescent tracers to evaluate pesticide dissipation and transformation in agricultural soils. Science of the Total Environment. 619, 1682-1689.

Reviews

  • Imfeld G., Payraudeau S., Tournebize J., Sauvage S., Macary F., Chaumont C., Probst A., Sanchez-Pérez J-M., Bahi A., Chaumet B., Gilevska T., Alexandre H., Probst J-L.The Role of Ponds in Pesticide Dissipation at the Agricultural Catchment Scale: A Critical Review. (2021). Water 13 (9), 1202. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091202
  • Elsner M. and Imfeld G. (2016). Compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of micropollutants in the environment – current developments and future challenges. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 1706:1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2016.04.014
  • Imfeld G., Vuilleumier S. (2012). Measuring the effects of synthetic pesticides on bacterial communities in soil : a review. European Journal of Soil Biology. 49 : 22-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejsobi.2011.11.010.
  • Imfeld G., Braeckevelt M., Kuschk P., Richnow H.H. (2009). Processes in constructed wetlands treating organic contaminants. Chemosphere 74 (3) : 349-362. doi : 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.09.062.

Full list of publications available here