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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal UMR ISPA Bordeaux science agro

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Thomas Nesme

Associate professor of Agronomy

Bordeaux Sciences Agro (University of Bordeaux)

CS 40201

33175 Gradignan cedex
tel. +33 557-12-25-05 (INRA) or +33 557-35-07-57 (Bordeaux Sciences Agro)
Email :

Congratulations to Benjamin Nowak who published his work demonstrating how deep human activities have modified the phosphorus cycle in agroecosystems. This great piece of work has been published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

  • 2013-2014: Visiting scholar at the McGill School of Environment (Montreal, Canada)
  • Since 2005: Associate professor at Bordeaux Sciences Agro (Univ. Bordeaux)
  • 2004: PhD in Agronomy (Agro de Montpellier, France)
  • 2001: MSc in Soil Sciences (Agro de Montpellier, France)
  • 2000: MSc in Agronomy (Agro de Montpellier, France)

My research activity deals with Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) cycling in agroecosystems from farm to global scales. N and P management in agroecosystems raise key issues. On the one hand, the limited availability of P resources at global scale may threaten global food security. On the other hand, the accumulation of the reactive forms of these nutrients in the biosphere plays a key role in terrestrial and aquatic eutrophication and greenhouse gas emissions. An improved recycling of these nutrients in socio-systems is strongly required. I focus on the role played by agriculture in nutrient cycling from farm to global scales. Through tracking material exchanges within agroecosystems, my objective is to understand and assess the factors that determine these flows. While small scales (e.g., field) have been extensively considered in agronomy, I focus on larger scales (e.g., district, country and global). I use a mix of case-studies, farm survey, data mining and modelling approaches and I’m inspired both by agronomy and industrial ecology.

From an applied point of view, my activity aims to provide indicators and evidence for assessing the consequences of the specialisation of agricultural production basins and of agricultural trade globalisation.

For the moment, my activity deals with P flows through international food and feed trade during my sabbatical at McGill University. I also work on the opportunities for integrating crop and livestock enterprises at district scale over Europe (supervision of John Regan’s post-doc within the European project Cantogether).

My teaching activitiy deals with agroecological management of cropping systems, farming system analysis and farming system design. I also teach modelling applied to farming systems. Organic farming occupies a major role in my courses.


Hugo Fernandez-Mena (PhD student, 2014-)

John Regan (post-doc, 2012-2013)


Lucie Lung (Master, 2014-2015)

Solène Roques (MSc, 2014, co-supervised with Elena Bennett)

Benjamin Nowak (PhD student, 2010-2013)

Senthilkumar Kalimuthu (post-doc, 2009-2011)

Maxime Toublant (MSc, 2009)

Samuel Brunault (MSc, 2008)


Nowak, B., Nesme, T., David, C., Pellerin, S. 2015. Nutrient cycling in organic farming is related to diversity in farm types at the local level. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 204, 17-26, DOI:

 Withers, P.J.A., van Dijk, K., Neset, T-S., Nesme, T., Oenema, O., Rubaek, G., Schoumans, O., Smit, B., Pellerin, S. 2015. Stewardship to tackle global phosphorus inefficiency: The case of Europe. Ambio, 44 (supp 2), S193-S206, DOI: 10.1007/s13280-014-0614-8.

Ringeval, B., Nowak, B., Nesme, T., Delmas, M., Pellerin, S. 2014. Contribution of anthropogenic phosphorus to agricultural soil fertility and food production. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28, DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004842.

Senthilkumar, K., Mollier, A., Delmas M., Pellerin, S, Nesme, T. 2014. Phosphorus recovery and recycling from waste: an appraisal based on a French case-study. Resource, Conservation and Recycling, 87, 97-108, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2014.03.005.

Makowski, D., Nesme, T., Papy, F. Doré, T. 2014. Global agronomy, a new field of research. A review.Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 34(2): 293-307, doi: 10.1007/s13593-013-0179-0.

Nowak, B., Nesme, T., David, C., Pellerin, S. 2013. To what extent does organic farming rely on nutrient inflows from conventional farming? Environmental Research Letter, 8, 044045, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044045.

Nowak, B., Nesme, T., David, C., Pellerin, S. 2013. Disentangling the drivers of fertilising materials inflows in organic farming.Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 96, 79-91, doi: 10.1007/s10705-013-9578-5.

Senthilkumar, K., Nesme, T., Mollier, A., Pellerin, S. 2012. Conceptual design and quantification of phosphorus flows and balances at a country scale for France.Global Biogeochemical Cycles,26, GB2008, doi:10.1029/2011GB004102.

Nesme, T., Toublant, M., Mollier, A., Morel, C., Pellerin, S. 2012. Assessing phosphorus management among organic farming systems: a farm input, output and budget analysis in Southwestern France.Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 92, 225-236, doi: 10.1007/s10705-012-9486-0.

Senthilkumar, K., Nesme, T., Mollier, A., Pellerin, S. 2012. Regional-scale phosphorus flows and balances within France: The importance of agricultural production sytems. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 92, 145-159, doi: 10.1007/s10705-011-9478-5.

Nesme, T., Brunault, S., Mollier, A., Pellerin, S. 2011. An analysis of farmers' use of phosphorus fertiliser in industrial agriculture: a case study in the Bordeaux region (south-western France). Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 91, 99-108, doi: 10.1007/s10705-011-9449-x.

Nesme, T. Lescourret, F., Bellon, S., Habib, R. 2010. Is the plot concept an obstacle in agricultural science? A review focussing on fruit production. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 138, 133-138, doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2010.04.014.