Environmental Chemistry group

Team members:

Permanent staff

Emmanuel Guillon - Full professor
Nicolas Maurin - Engineer
Stéphanie Sayen - Associate professor

Non-permanent staff

Veronica Baldasso - PhD student
Noémie Célaries - PhD student
Phuong Quynh Nguyen - PhD student


  • Organic and inorganic pollutants transfer in the environment
  • Multi-scale approach of the sorption phenomena
  • Characterization and modelisation of solid-solution interactions
  • Remediation to the pollutions
  • Water integrated management in rural zone

The research team activities are devoted mainly to the study and understanding of the transfer phenomena of organic (pesticides and emerging pollutants) and inorganic (trace metals) pollutants in soils, sediments, sludges from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), digestates…

A methodology based on both the study of sorption isotherms and the use of surface analysis physicochemical techniques (XANES and EXAFS, X-ray fluorescence, XPS, SEM/EDX,
EPR, solid state NMR), allows to take into account the surface properties of various natural solids (solid-solution interface) and thus to better understand the transfer phenomena of pollutants in the environment.

The main objectives of the team are to get information at the macroscopic scale, which combined with those obtained at the molecular level, should allow to establish relevant predictive systems of pollutants transfer. These studies are conducted on an applied and a fundamental level.

The sorption study of the pollutants on surfaces is addressed in an original way, with a multi-scale physico-chemical approach. It is fundamental to be able to verify the validity of extrapolations and modelisation at all scales to validate the predictive systems. This is particularly the case in the study of the solid surfaces reactivity for which the knowledge of all the interactions is particularly important in the understanding of the reactivity mode.

In this context, our activities are divided into three main areas:

1 - Transfer of metallic trace elements in the environment

In this theme, the work is carried out on soils, sediments, and digestates or sludges from sewage treatment plants and amended soils, but also on individual components of these solids.

  • Adsorption/desorption isotherms plot
  • Column experiments
  • Aging
  • Modelisation
  • Molecular scale speciation
Area 1

2 - Transfer of organic pollutants in the environment

We are interested in this axis to study the influence of solid physico-chemical parameters and molecules intrinsic parameters on the adsorption/desorption processes of contaminants on solid surface. Contaminants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PAH, BTEX, phthalates,… are investigated.

  • Adsorption/desorption isotherms plot
  • Column experiments
  • Modelisation
Area 2

3 - Interaction between organic and inorganic contaminants in the environment

Metallic trace elements are simultaneously present in the environment with organic contaminants. They can interact together through the formation of coordination complexes, which can modify their respective fate. Study of such systems is crucial as data are missing. The activities of our team are therefore in this light.

  • Adsorption/desorption isotherms plot
  • Column experiments
  • Modelisation
  • Molecular scale speciation
  • “Cocktail” effect
  • Organic contaminant-metal interactions
  • Acidity and complexation constants determination
Area 3