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

Last update: May 2021

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Nutrient and trace element biogeochemistry

Team leader :  Mark Bakker





  • BON Lucie 
  • Pierre Eon
  • Frédéric Ouedraogo
  • Pablo Raguet
  • Nomena Ravelojaona
  • Mounir Seghouani
  • Pierre Valles
  • Agathe Vidal
  • Pablo Raguet



Research context

The problematic of the team "Biogeochemistry of Nutrients and Trace Elements" (BIONET) is to answer the question of how to sustainably manage nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) to ensure agricultural and forestry production while limiting environmental impacts. The team studies various ecosystems ranging from field crops and cultivated grasslands to forests. The ecosystems studied are located in the Aquitaine region and throughout France. The team also has numerous collaborations on study sites around the world (Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Madagascar, New Zealand, Morocco, Siberia, Switzerland...).



The main objective of the BIONET team is to improve our understanding of ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycles through

- i) the quantification of nutrient stocks and fluxes at different scales (plot, field, territory, world)

- ii) mechanistic modeling of physicochemical and biological processes.

The ultimate goal is to produce scientific knowledge as well as advice and rules of good practice for managers of agricultural and forest ecosystems.

Translated with (free version)



The three main themes of the team are :

Study and modeling of soil-plant relationships and soil functioning in response to nutrient bioavailability in terrestrial ecosystems. The team studies in particular the role of agricultural practices, biodiversity and climate change on productivity and ecosystem services provided by terrestrial ecosystems.
Study and model the long-term functioning of biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems. The team studies in particular the coupling between nutrient and carbon cycles from fine scales (microorganisms, roots) to much larger scales (regional, global).
Modeling phosphorus fluxes at global scales. The team is studying the determinants of the use of phosphorus resources and their impact on bioavailability in soils on a global scale.

Translated with (free version)


Approach and tools

One of the main characteristics of the team is to approach the biogeochemistry of nutrients from small to large scales by combining both experimentation and modeling.

The processes we study are related to soil functioning (transfer processes at the soil-solution interface, nutrient bioavailability, microbial communities and mycorrhizae), plant functioning (mineral uptake by the root system, assimilation and allocation of carbon and mineral elements between organs, symbiotic nitrogen fixation) and the impact of management practices (agronomy and silviculture).

The main tools mobilized are :

  • Experimentation under controlled conditions on soil samples or potted crops to study nutrient bioavailability, soil functioning or plant uptake and growth.
  • In situ field experiments to evaluate our models, identify P species/forms (speciation) and quantify biogeochemical cycle compartments and fluxes.
  • Mechanistic (or sometimes statistical) modeling as a conceptual framework to organize and formalize our research to produce numerical models. These models are used for prediction, to elaborate and test scenarios, to quantify and prioritize the relative weight of modeled processes according to the contexts and scales considered, to produce or feed decision support tools.
  • Analysis and exploitation of statistical, bibliographic or survey databases to understand flows at global scales and to evaluate recycling opportunities.




Some important publications

Jordan-Meille L., Rubaek GH., Ehlert P., Genot V., Hofman G., Goulding K., Recknagel KJ., Provolo G., Barraclough P. 2012 An overview of fertiliser-P recommendations in Europe: Soil testing, calibration, and fertiliser recommendations. Soil Use and Management. 28, 419-435.

Martineau E., Domec J.C., Bosc A., Dannoura M., Gibon Y., Bernard C., Jordan-Meille L. 2017 The role of potassium on maize leaf carbon exportation under drought condition. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 39:219

Nadeem M, Mollier A, Morel C, Shahid M, Aslam M, Zia-ur-Rehman M, Wahid MA, Pellerin S. 2013. Maize seedling phosphorus nutrition: Allocation of remobilized seed phosphorus reserves and external phosphorus uptake to seedling roots and shoots during early growth stages. Plant and Soil 371: 327–338.

Gonzalez M, Augusto L, Gallet-Budynek A, Xue J, Yauschew-Raguenes N, Guyon D, Trichet P, Delerue F, Niollet S, Andreasson F, et al. 2013. Contribution of understory species to total ecosystem aboveground and belowground biomass in temperate Pinus pinaster Ait. forests. Forest Ecology and Management 289: 38–47.

Morel C, Ziadi N, Messiga A, Bélanger G, Denoroy P, Jeangros B, Jouany C, Fardeau J-C, Mollier A, Parent L-E, et al. 2014. Modeling of phosphorus dynamics in contrasting agroecosystems using long-term field experiments. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 94: 377–387.

Brédoire F, Bakker MR, Augusto L, Barsukov PA, Derrien D, Nikitich P, Rusalimova O, Zeller B, Achat DL. 2016. What is the P value of Siberian soils? Soil phosphorus status in south-western Siberia and comparison with a global data set. Biogeosciences 13: 2493–2509.

Regan JT, Marton S, Barrantes O, Ruane E, Hanegraaf M, Berland J, Korevaar H, Pellerin S, Nesme T. 2017. Does the recoupling of dairy and crop production via cooperation between farms generate environmental benefits? A case-study approach in Europe. European Journal of Agronomy 82, Part B: 342–356.