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Accueil > Annuaire du LHyGeS

IMFELD Gwenaël

publié le , mis à jour le

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 at the water-sediment interface, in agricultural soils and on the catchment scale
- Stable isotope fractionation (compound-specific isotope analysis) during degradation of industrial (chloroethenes, dichloromethane) in aquifers

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.


Since 2019 Research director CNRS
2013 Habilitation (HDR) : Université de Strasbourg, France
Since 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

- Team responsible ’Experimental and Isotope Biogeochemistry’ (
- Editorial board : Chemosphere (since 2015)
- Editorial board : European Journal of Soil Biology (2009-2015)
- 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

- 80|Prime 2020 : CNRS - Mission pour les initiatives transverses et interdisciplinaires | MITI. Biodégradation de micropolluants dans les nappes
aquifères : 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.
- 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.
- 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 ». 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

Group members

- Sylvain Payraudeau, (Prof) ENGEES (Contaminant hydrology)
- Jérémie Masbou, (MCF) ENGEES (Environmental chemistry and methods)
- Benoît Guyot, Engineer-CNRS (Stable isotope lab and chromatography)
- Thierry Perrone, Engineer-CNRS (Lab preparation and elemental analysis)
- Eric Pernin, Lab and field technician (experimental site of Rouffach (68))

PhD students

- 2019 – : Tobias Junginger (INTERREG V NAVEBGO)
- 2018 – : Maria Espinoza de Lourdes (ED413 UNISTRA and Agriculture Ministry)
- 2017 – : Boris Droz (AERM-Région Grand Est)
- 2017 – : Guillaume Drouin (Ministère Agriculture)
- 2015 – 2019 : Pablo Zaldivar (IDEX - Université de Strasbourg)
- 2014 – 2017 : Fatima Meite (Région Alsace)
- 2013 – 2016 : Bastien Wild (ED413 UNISTRA)
- 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

- 2020 – : Rungroch Sungthong (Project DECiSIvE)
- 2019 – : Tetyana Gilevska (Project PESTIPOND)
- 2017 – 2019 : Paula Pérez Rodríguez (Project RhISOTOP)
- 2016 – 2018 : Jérémie Masbou (Project SERIOR)
- 2015 – 2018 : Charline Wiegert (Project PACOV)

Scientific contribution : recent and selection

(full list is provided below as pdf)

Gwenaël Imfeld

A) Peer-reviewed articles (ISI) (>66), here are the recent (last 2 years) and main articles :

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Masbou J., Drouin G., Payraudeau S., Imfeld G.,(2018) .Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope fractionation during abiotic hydrolysis of pesticides. Chemosphere 213, 368−376.
  • Semhi K., Duplay J., Imfeld G., Boutin R., (2018). Chemical effect of pesticide application on soils : evidence from rare earth elements . Arabian Journal of Geosciences 11 (19), 590.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Maillard E., Imfeld. (2014). Pesticide mass budget in a stormwater wetland. Environmental Science & Technology. 43 : 8603-8611. DOI : 10.1021/es405688v.
  • 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.

Full list of publications available here

pdf/imfeld prod 2020