Preserving environment, maintening food quality and managing energy are major challenges for our societies.

The vulnerability of ecosystems and resources requires the implementation of management methods guaranteeing their sustainability. UniLaSalle undertakes through the activities of its AGHYLE research unit to participate in the understanding of biological and physicochemical phenomena that impact the sphere of the "critical zone".

The ecosystems that compose this specific area provide many services to society: food production and non-food biomass production, cycle and availability nutrients, protection and remediation of water, protection against soil erosion, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, etc.

However, these ecosystems are subject to strong human activities pressures which can affect their functioning and their production.

Schéma de la zone critique (d’après Chorover et al., 2007)

* Schematic of the critical zone (from Chorover et al., 2007)

AGHYLE scientific project


The AGHYLE Unit, headed by Isabelle GATTIN and co-led by Stéphane FIRMIN, brings together around twenty five permanent scientists around fifteen doctoral students on agroecology questioning.

It capitalizes on cutting-edge technological resources, such as the Hydrogeology platform which allows the study of water flows circulation and soil pollutant transfers and the Normand Serre Experimental Station which brings together laboratories and confined greenhouses, to study the processes involved in plant nutrition and health.



The unit aims to contribute to understand the inter-relationships between management practices, soil conditions and plant diversity and to identify the consequences of these interactions on the dynamics of elements and the quality of plants through 3 areas of research:

1 - Mechanisms of soil/plant/telluric organisms interactions

2 - process of elements availability in the rock-water-soil-plant continuum

3 - quantification and modeling of transfers

The challenge of the research work is to optimize the management of agro & eco-systems with a view to their sustainability.

The knowledge acquired within these axes and their synergies support and create innovation in the fields of plant production for the integrated protection of crops, the preservation of soil & water resources, and thus promote agro-ecological practices and ecological engineering.

The numerous purposes to relate to (1) the identification and evaluation of biocontrol and / or fertilizing solutions, (2) the development of new methods / standards for the identification of indicators or (3) the construction of decision support tools development to increase innovative practices in agriculture.

Research activities of AGHYLE are falling within most of the Sustainable Development Goals, as defined by UN, in particular the goal Zero Hunger (n°2) which includes the agroecology approach to enhance crop protection, quality and nutrition, or the goal Life and Land (n°15 which includes the soil biodiversity, the soil pollutions or the elements flows assessment, and the goal Climate Action (n°13) which includes understanding the microorganisms communities in the soil and their realtions with the plants in the climate change adaptation, the soil carbon storage process, and the connection between the soil biodiversity and the resilience state of the ecosystems.

The unit develops, by multidisciplinary approach, ecological, environmental and crop production performance indicators, applied to agroecosystems, in oreder to contribute to agroecological transition.

AGHYLE Team skills

  • Soil management & crop quality,
  • Plant health & integrated protection;
  • Agronomy & Agroecology;
  • Organic MAtter & Biogeochemistry;
  • Microbial soil ecology;
  • Hydrogeochemistry & water quality;
  • Dynamics & Transfer of soil elements

The team

AGHYLE Beauvais campus

  • ARMAND Romain: Associate professor, surface hydrology ( mini CV)
  • AYERDI-GOTOR Alicia: Associate professor, ecophysiology (mini CV)
  • BONHOURE Jessica: Associate professor, geochemistry, mineral resources (mini CV)
  • BOULC'H Guénolé: Associate professor, plant breeding, Head of the Plant Breeding Chair (mini CV)
  • FAUCON Michel-Pierre: Associate Professor, Associate professor qualified to direct research, plant ecology and agro-ecology (mini CV)
  • FIRMIN Stéphane: Associate professor, toxicochemistry (mini CV)
  • HOUBEN David: Associate professor, soil sciences, biogeochemistry (mini CV)
  • LANGE Bastien: Associate professor, plant ecology, genetics (mini CV)
  • LUTZ Pascale: Associate professor, geophysics (mini CV)
  • DULAURENT Anne-Maïmiti: Associate professor, ecology-animal, agro-ecology (mini CV)
  • POURRET Olivier: Associate professor qualified to direct research, geochemistry (mini CV)
  • SELIM Sameh: Associate professor qualified to direct research, plant pathology and molecular biology (mini CV)
  • UGARTE Carolina: Associate professor, soil science (mini CV)
  • ZOURHI Lahcen: Associate professor qualified to direct research, hydrogeology (mini CV)

AGHYLE Rouen campus

  • BERNARD Pierre-Yves: Associate professor, agronomy, cropping systems
  • BRESSAN Mélanie: Research coordinator, molecular biology, plant pathology (mini CV)
  • BRUYANT Marie-Pierre: Associate professor, plant sciences (mini CV)
  • CASTEL Lisa: Study engineer, molecular biology, biochemistry
  • DUBOIS Caroline: Study engineer, analytical chemistry, biochemistry
  • GATTIN Isabelle: Associate professor qualified to direct research, agro-ecology, microbial ecology, biogeochimical cycles (miniCV)
  • GAUTHIER Adrien: Associate professor, phytopathology, plant sciences (mini CV)
  • LAVAL Karine: UniLaSalle Research Director, qualified to direct research, microbiology, soil sciences
  • LAURENT Nadia: Associate professor, soil, biogeochimical cycles, organic matter
  • LEGRAS Marc: Associate professor, soil sciences, agro-ecology, biogeochemistry (mini CV)
  • LEPLET Maëva: Laboratory technician, cell biology, molecular biology
  • RIAH-ANGLET Wassila: Research coordinator, microbial soil ecology, biochemistry, microbiology
  • THIOYE Babacar: Associate professor, microbiology specialized in mycorrhizae and agronomy (mini CV)
  • VELOSO GOMES Murilo: Associate professor, international agronomy, soil sciences
  • CHAMOT Christophe: Project manager (Rouen campus)
  • HANOT-CAUCHOIS Anne: LabTechnician, biochemistry
  • NOBILE Cécile: Research coordinator
  • AMY Charlotte - Rouen campus "Optimization of soil Phosphorus availability through bioinputs (biofertilizer): impacts on the Efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use and yield in colzA" OPERA project
  • CAMIADE Mathilde - Rouen campus "Sanitary and ecological impacts of the adaptation of enteric pathogenic bacteria to plants" LIPS project - PhD defended on July 9, 2019
  • FORSTER Matthieu - Beauvais campus "Roots traits effect on soil traffic-induced shear in agroecosystems"
  • HAMMAMI Salma - Beauvais campus "Morpho-hydrological risk assessment and impact on development: Greater Tunis."
  • HONVAULT Nicolas - Beauvais campus "Effect of the functional diversity of the intermediate crops on the availability of phosphorus in soils."
  • KANTE Mohamed - Rouen campus "Impact of C and N rhizodeposition by seed and forage Fabaceae on edaphic microbial communities and on soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics" RHIZOcomm project
  • KERVROEDAN Léa - Beauvais campus "Effects of plant traits and funcional diversity on runoff and sediment retention. Application for soil erosion control in temperate agricultural watersheds" Thesis defended December 17, 2018
  • KHEMIRI Rana - Beauvais campus "Geological and hydrogeological study of the region of Kébilili Gabès (South Tunisia)
  • LUSLEY Pauline - Rouen campus "Characterization of direct ou indirect mechanisms of resistance to pea root rot induced by Aphanomyces euteiches. Influence of varietal choices and beneficial microorganisms in the rhizosphere." LIPS project
  • PLANCHON Aline - Rouen campus "Ecoproduction and valorization of flax: ecoproduction against Fusarium oxysporum and impact on the properties of agromaterials" LIPS project - PhD defended on December 18, 2018
  • REZGUI Cyrine - Rouen campus "Nitrogen dynamics from winter pea corps in rotation." VIVEPOIS project
  • SAMAIN Erika - Beauvais campus "Study of PGPR/soft wheat genotype interactions in the fight against septoria." - PhD defended on June 18, 2019
  • THIANGOU Dodo - Beauvais campus "Hydrogeological understanding of chalk."
  • SOUISSI Dhekra - Beauvais campus "Mapping potential recharge in arid zones."
  • VELASCO SANCHEZ Angel - Campus de Rouen « Impact of reflow fertilizers on soil microbial communities diversity and functions »

Research projects

Soil fertility management by stable carbon sequestration resulting from the thermochemical conversion of residual biomass from the compost industry - 2017/2020.


The project aims to validate a new economic model for the production of organic amendments and high agronomic value culture supports integrating biochar in composts that have been poorly valorized until now.


ETIA, INRA, ACF (Loire Compost, Agricompost10, Agriopale)

UniLaSalle contact: David HOUBEN

Agroecology of intermediate crops, effect of funcional diversity on phosphorus availability - (2017/2020) VIVESCIA and ANRT


The project aims to examine, within intermediate crops, the effect of the functional diversity of traits involved in phosphorus acquisition and availability in order sustainably manage crop fertilization.


VIVESCIA, University of Western Australia and ETH Zurich.

UniLaSalle contact: Michel-Pierre FAUCON

Interests of mycorrhization in agricultural and agroforestry practices - 2016/2020).


The project aims to contribute t the competitiveness of cropping systems that support soil life, carbon storage, water resource conservation and reduced use of chemical inputs by acting to take into account endomycorrhizal symbioses in agricultural practices.


Chambre d'Agriculture de Dordogne; Chambre d'Agriculture de la Corrèze; INRA Dijon UMR 1347; Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle; association Française d'Agroforesterie; CTIFL; Station de la noix de Creysse; EPLEFPA de Brive Voutezac; EPL de l'Eure; LEGTA de Chambray; A2C Farming Communication Agriculture de conservation.

UniLaSalle contacts: Marc LEGRAS and Babacar THIOYE

Reference soil microbiology indicators and integrate them into routine soil analysis to improve the management of organic restitutions in arable and mixed cropping-livestocks systems - 2017/2020.


The Microbioterre project aims to integrate microbiological analyses into soil analyses performed by laboratories. the ultimate aim is to extend  the diagnosis and advice for the management of cropping practices that restore carbon to the soil.


ARVALIS,Terres Inovia, ITAB, INRA UMR ECOSYS and FARE, AUREA-AGROSCIENCES, Chambers of Agriculture of Brittany, CELESTA-LAB, SEMSE, RITTMO, Chambre d'Agriculture de la région Alsace (CARA), ARAA, Chambre d'Agriculture de Saône-et-Loire, Chambre régionale d'Agriculture d'Alsace-Champagne-Ardennes-Lorraine (CRA-ACAL), LEGTA d'Yvetot.

UniLaSalle contacts: Wassila RIAH-ANGLET and Nadia LAURENT

Phosphorus REcovery for FertiLisers frOm dairy processing Waste – 2018/2021.


The objective of this project is to test new processes for the treatment of organic waste from dairy companies (thermal treatments, use of microbial suspensions, ...) and to evaluate the consequences of these treatments on the biochemical composition of this organic waste.


Academics: University of Wageningen (Netherlands), University of Gallway (Ireland), University of Swansea (Wales), University of Venice, University of Gent

Socioeconomic: Biomass Heating Solutions Ltd, Agricultural Catchments Programme, Aurivo Dairy Ingredients, Lakeland Dairies

UniLaSalle contacts: Isabelle GATTIN and Marie SAUVADET

Optimization of the biotization of horticultural substrates: alternative for the fight against telluric pathogens.


This project aims at validating and promoting the use of biotization products for the plant protection against telluric diseases in a horticultural context.  More specifically, the aim is to identify growing conditions that are favourable both  for the growth of model plants and for the colonization of substrates by the microorganisms that make up the biocontrol products; and then to evaluate the potential for disease protection under the optimal growing and biotizing conditions identified.


ASTREDHOR Seine-Manche, ASTREDHOR SO GIEFP, firms producing bio-control solutions.

UniLaSalle contact: Mélanie BRESSAN

Ecotoxicity of Bisphenol A to growth, P nutrition and root traits in a variety of wheat - 2018/2019


To study the effect of Bisphenol A on the functional traits involved in growth and phosphate nutrition in wheat.



UniLaSalle contact : Stéphane FIRMIN

LAND Management, Assessment, Research Knowledge base 2015/2019.


This research project aims in particular to set up a toolbox for soil management on a European scale, by interacting indicators on five major types of soil functions: agronomic potential; water purification and regulation; carbon sequestration and regulation; biodiversity/habitat and nutrient cycling.


17 European countries + China and Brazil, i.e. 22 research structures.

UniLaSalle contact: Isabelle GATTIN

Primary contamination of salads by pathogenic microorganisms: critical points and levers - 2016/2019.


the aim of this program is to improve the sanitary quality of salads intended for the first and fourth range. It aims to identify the origins and vectors of the primary contamination of aslads by pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and parasites) in order to offer producers a harmonized guide to good farming practices to improve the sanitary quality of products before delivery.


Normandy Regional Chamber of Agriculture, Departmental Chambers of Agriculture (14, 50, 76), ACTALIA (Agro-Industrial Technical Institute), SILEBAN (Regional Vegetable Experiment Station), Unit LMSM-EA 4312 - University of Rouen.

UniLaSalle contacts: Wassila RIAH-ANGLET and Karine LAVAL


The project aims to obtain a better knowledge of 1) the direct and indirect mechanisms involved in plant nutrition (C, N, P), 2) the mechanisms involved in root defense and 3) the role of the microorganisms for the plant health and nutrition.


LMSM Unit EA 4312 University of Rouen; GlycoMev Unit EA 3458 University of Rouen; UMR EVA INRA 950 University of Caen.

UniLaSalle contacts: Isabelle GATTIN and Adrien BLUM

Research networks

This Federative Structure labeled in 2017 by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research co-founded and co-directed by UniLaSalle (Karine LAVAL) aims to federate the disciplines in plant sciences and agronomy in Normandy to generate new collaborations based on unique and complementary skills, strengthen the national and international legibility of the constituent units and increase the attractiveness of the Normandy territory.

The skills of SFR NORWAY's researchers cover disciplinary fields ranging from plant biology to agronomy, including microbiology, biochemistry, physico-chemistry, ecology and economics. The SFR promotes multidisciplinary research in the field of agro-ecology, nutrition and plant health, focusing its activities on plant-soil-microorganism relationships and relies on the technology of the Station Expérimentale Normand Serre for the realization of its research programs.
5 research units on the Norman territory, including the AGHYLE unit on the Rouen campus, that is to say about a hundred researchers, PhD students and post-docs are thus federated with the following objectives:

  1. the development of innovative agronomic solutions that promote the economy of inputs and the use of biocontrol products and methods for integrated crop protection (MAA's Ecophyto Et Produire autrement plans)   
  2. development of agronomic resources

While promoting scientific collaborations with academic and socio-economic partners.

Each year, SFR communicates on the programs supported within its teams through a dedicated Scientific Day: The SFR Normandie Végétale Day organized in turn by the University of Rouen, the University of Caen and UniLaSalle.  

Visit the website

More about SFR Day

This RMT will take over from the Fertilization and Environment RMT. Plant nutrition and crop production are at the heart of the issue of sustainable agricultural production: establishing strategies that allow the plant to use the nutrients available in the agrosystem, complemented with the right dose of inputs, minimizing their use and impact on the environment.

Nevertheless, these issues are being profoundly revisited in the light of changes in practices and cropping systems. These changes are induced by (i) the shift of agro-ecology to respond to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity conservation, and environmental and food quality, opening a growing place for organic agriculture, conservation agriculture, agroforestry, (ii) the voluntary transition to the circular economy to adapt to the scarcity of resources, leading to a wider mobilization of quality fertilizing materials from renewable resources, better use of nutrients from waste of increasingly varied origins and (iii) diversification of the methods of production and recovery of organic residues (various composts, methanization digestates) or minerals ("waste-sourced" derivatives): struvite, biochar, etc.) under the best agronomic, health and environmental conditions.

The RMT BOUCLAGE will conduct interdisciplinary work (notably in the fields of agronomy, agro-ecology and economics) aimed at 1) understanding the determinants of the practices, alone and in combination, mobilized for the management of biogeochemical cycles and crop fertilization and in a systemic and anticipatory approach, and 2) controlling their environmental and health impacts.

Visit the website

The RMT PHYTOSTIM took over from the RMT ELICITRA in 2020. This RMT is interested in phytostimulation in general, and will lead at the same time, scientific advances, methodological progress and integration of solutions in cropping systems. AGHYLE Rouen is a partner of this network.

The AGHYLE team aims to share with the RMT research work in the field of plant protection in a context of agro-ecological transition through the stimulation of the plant immune system and development, which is one of the research axes of the Unit.



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A shear box honored by the Curie Network

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The Open Science Barometer at UniLaSalle is now available

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Director of the AGHYLE unit
Stephane FIRMIN
Associate professor, Toxicochemistry - Assistant Director of the AGHYLE unit