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Accueil > Annuaire du LHyGeS

IMFELD Gwenaël

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Research scientist - CNRS

Contact :

Tel. : + 33 (0)3 6885 0474

Resarch interests

- Biogeochemistry of pollutants
- Microbial transformation and ecology in continental hydrosystems
- Biodegradation of industrial and micropolluants in wetlands, soils and aquifers

Current research

- Stable isotope fractionation (compound-specific isotope analysis) during transformation of micropollutants in wetlands, agricultural soils and catchments
- Stable isotope fractionation (compound-specific isotope analysis) during degradation of industrial (chloroethenes, dichloromethane) in aquifers
- Bioweathering of feldspar minerals and microbial ecology

Understanding the environmental 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 can be mobilised from their sources and transported overland via runoff in freely dissolved form, and in less bioavailable colloidal or organic matter-bound forms. Pollutants may 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’ that bear dynamic interfaces between water, soil/sediment and microorganisms, and develop over space and time 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.


01/2013 Habilitation (HDR) : Université de Strasbourg, France
Since 10/2009 Research scientist : National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS, France (LHyGeS)
2008-2009 Post-doc : Laboratory of Hydrology and Geochemistry of Strasbourg (LHyGeS), UdS /ENGEES, CNRS ; Strasbourg, France (
2005-2008 Ph.D. thesis in Isotope Biogeochemistry : Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany (
2003-2005 Master 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)
1998-2003 Master in Biology : University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

Professional responsabilities

- Editorial board : Chemosphere (since 2015)
- Editorial board : European Journal of Soil Biology (since 2009)
- Research Council - Rhine-Meuse Water Agency (since 2013)
- Biogeochemistry lab (field-scale studies, lab-scale (wetland) experiments on micropollutant transfer) and stable isotope facility (Delta V+ gas source mass spectrometers in continuous flow configuration with a gas chromatograph enabling compound specific isotope analysis of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen).

Current and recent research support

- 2D-DCM : EC2CO-INSU (CNRS). Transport réactif du dichlorométhane en aquifères de laboratoire. PI. 2017-2019.
- 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 ». 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 and public conferences

- Transfer of pollutants in hydrological systems (Master of Environmental Science and Engineering (ISIE) – University of Strasbourg), Module UE10 (courses and practical field and lab work) ;
- Conférence grand public, Université de Strasbourg (30 mai 2013) : ’Pesticides & Agriculture : Faisons le point’. Audio Video Cast :
-  Comprendre le devenir des micropollutants dans les eaux et les sols grâce à la chimie isotopique

Team members

- Sylvain Payraudeau, MC-ENGEES, LHyGES
- Benoît Guyot, Engineer-CNRS (stable isotope lab and chromatography)
- Eric Pernin, Lab and field technician (experimental site of Rouffach (68))

PhD students

- 2017 – 2018 : Boris Droz (AERM-Région Grand Est)
- 2017 – 2018 : Guillaume Drouin (Ministère Agriculture)
- 2015 – 2018 : Pablo Zaldivar (IDEX - Université de Strasbourg)
- 2014 – 2017 : Fatima Meite (Région Alsace)
- 2013 – 2016 : Bastien Wild (Contrat Ecole doctorale, Strasbourg)
- 2011 - 2014 : Izabella Babcsányi (Région Alsace)
- 2011 - 2014 : Marie Lefrancq (Projet PhytoRET, INTERREG IV)
- 2011 - 2014 : Omniea Fawsy (Projet CSI:Environment, 7ème PCRD)
- 2010 - 2013 : Elodie Maillard (Projet PhytoRET, INTERREG IV)

Post-Doctoral Researchers

- 2017 – : Paula Pérez Rodríguez (Project RhISOTOP)
- 2016 – : Jérémie Masbou (Project SERIOR)
- 2015 – : Charline Wiegert (Project PACOV)

Scientific contribution : recent and selection

(full list is provided below as pdf)

Gwenaël Imfeld

A) Peer-reviewed articles (ISI) (>50), here are the recent and main articles :

  • Meite F., Alvarez-Zaldívar P., Crochet A., Wiegert C., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G., (2017). 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.
  • Mauffrey F., Baccara PY., Gruffaz C., Vuilleumier S., Imfeld G., (2017). Bacterial Community Composition and Genes for Herbicide Degradation in a Stormwater Wetland Collecting Herbicide Runoff. Water, Air & Soil Pollution 228:452.
  • Lange J., Olsson O., Sweeney B., Herbstritt B., Reich M., Alvarez-Zaldivar P., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G., (2017). Fluorescent tracers to evaluate pesticide dissipation and transformation in agricultural soils. Science of the Total Environment. doi : 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.132.
  • Lefrancq M., Payraudeau S., Guyot B., Millet M., Imfeld G., (2017). Degradation and Transport of the Chiral Herbicide S-Metolachlor at the Catchment Scale : Combining Observation Scales and Analytical Approaches. Environmental Science & Technology 51 (22) : 13231–13240.
  • Babcsányi I., Meite F., Imfeld G., (2017). Biogeochemical gradients and microbial communities in Winogradsky columns established with polluted wetland sediments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 93 : fix089.
  • Kopinke F.D., Georgi A., Imfeld G., Richnow H.H. (2017). Isotope fractionation of benzene during partitioning–Revisited. Chemosphere 168 : 508-513.
  • Wild B. ; Daval D. ; Guyot F. ; Knauss K.G., Pollet-Villard M., Imfeld G. (2016). pH-dependent control of feldspar dissolution rate by altered surface layers. Chemical Geology, 442:148–159.
  • 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.
  • Babcsányi I. ; Chabaux F. ; Granet M. ; Meite F. ; Payraudeau S. ; Duplay J. ; Imfeld G. (2016). Copper in soil fractions and runoff in a vineyard catchment : insights from copper stable isotopes. Science of the Total Environment, 557–558:154–162.
  • Elodie M. ; Lange J. ; Schreiber S. ; Dollinger J. ; Herbstritt B. ; Millet M. ; Imfeld G. (2016). Dissipation of hydrological tracers and the herbicide S-metolachlor in batch and continuous-flow wetlands. Chemosphere, 144:2489–2496.
  • Alvarez P. ; Centler F. ; Maier U. ; Thullner M. ; Imfeld G.. (2016). Biogeochemical modelling of in situ biodegradation and stable isotope fractionation of intermediate chloroethenes in a horizontal subsurface flow wetland. Ecological Engineering 90:170-179.
  • Maillard E., Imfeld. (2014). Pesticide mass budget in a stormwater wetland. Environmental Science & Technology. 43 : 8603-8611. DOI : 10.1021/es405688v.
  • Imfeld G., Kopinke F.D., Fischer A., Richnow H. (2014). Carbon and hydrogen isotope fractionation of benzene and toluene during hydrophobic sorption in multistep batch experiments. Chemosphere, 107 : 454-461. DOI : 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.01.063.
  • Babcsányi I., Imfeld G., Granet M., Chabaux F. Copper Stable Isotopes to Trace Copper Behavior in Wetland Systems. (2014). Environmental Science & Technology, 48 : 5520-5529. DOI : 10.1021/es405688v.
  • Elsayed O., Maillard E., Vuilleumier S., Nijenhuis I., Richnow H.H., Imfeld G. (2014). Using compound specific isotope analysis to assess the degradation of chloroacetanilide herbicides in lab-scale wetlands. Chemosphere, 99 : 89-95.
  • Imfeld G., Lefrancq M., Maillard E., Payraudeau S. (2013). Transport and attenuation of glyphosate and AMPA in a stormwater wetland. Chemosphere. 90(4):1333-9. doi : 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.04.054.
  • 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.
  • Imfeld G., Aragon Aragonés C.E., Fetzer I., Mészáros E., Zeiger S., Nijenhuis I., Nikolausz M., Delerce S., Richnow H.H. (2010). Characterization of microbial communities in the aqueous phases of a constructed model wetland treating 1,2-dichloroethenes contaminated ground water. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 72 : 74-88. doi : 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2009.00825.
  • 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.
  • Imfeld G., Aragon Aragonés C.E., Zeiger S., Paschke H., Vitzthum von Eckstädt C., Richnow H.H. (2008). Tracking in situ biodegradation of 1,2-dichloroethenes in a model subsurface flow constructed wetland. Environmental Science & Technology 42 : 7924–7930. doi:10.1021/es8014277
  • Imfeld G., Nijenhuis I., Nikolausz M., Zeiger S., Paschke H., Drangmeister J., Grossmann J., Richnow H.H., Weber S. (2008). Assessment of in situ degradation of chlorinated ethenes and bacterial community structure in a complex contaminated groundwater system. Water Research 42 : 871-882. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2007.08.035.