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Research axis 2

Material transfers and environmental quality

This axis aims to analyse and model the impact of biotic and abiotic material transfers on environmental quality (air, water, soil and crop production quality). We place ourselves here in a context of the impacts of current and past agricultural and forestry practices on the safety of harvested products and environmental health. Among the objects that disturb the quality of the environment, we are interested in trace elements, aerosols and nutrients considered here at doses where they become contaminants, such as phosphorus, whose leakage to aquifers can lead to eutrophication. The scales considered in this axis range from the plot scale to the region. The themes for reflection are addressed at three levels.

- The first step is to understand and describe the transfer mechanisms of the different elements studied (organic molecules, trace elements, nutrients, bacteria, etc.) within the media (water, soil, plants, atmosphere) and at their interfaces, giving priority to generic approaches for elements with similar properties with respect to the mechanism under consideration (e.g. similar aerodynamic properties with respect to short- and long-range atmospheric dispersion, or similar reactive properties of the elements or molecules with respect to organic materials).

- The second major theme concerns the quantification of flows. By bringing together expertise on atmospheric flows and soil-plant transfers, we will be able to address the integrated quantification of transfers in all compartments of ecosystems. In particular, the impact of anthropogenic activities (new agricultural inputs, organic farming, new practices such as no-till, etc.) and the spatial structuring of production units (field crop plot, vineyard plot, forest stand and their arrangement on material flows within an ecosystem and between ecosystems) is an issue.

- Finally, the third question concerns the analysis of the impact of these flows on the quality of the environment. This approach will require scientific leadership open to skills outside the RMU, in the fields of ecotoxicology, toxicology, plant pathology and even human health.