10 Years of LERMAB in Longwy

In 2010, a strategic vision from the University of Lorraine had established a geographic opportunity for energy and eco-materials research development in the border city of Longwy. Ten years after, the LERMAB team is at the core of a multidisciplinary research scheme with the energy transition at the heart of the system. The development of computational and experimental platforms has resulted in excellent scientific publications and international conference proceedings. A dozen of Ph.D. thesis, the organization of a Master-Ph.D. topical school  and two series of international conferences: ICOME(2015) and Intermediate Scale Conference EVF2 (2014).

By hosting the LERMAB team, the IUT research environment has strengthened its research agenda focusing on energy and thus boosting research and innovation in this field.

The simplest ambitions are often the most shared. Our ambition led to a research activity built for and with the socio-economic environment of the named ‘upper French country’ of Lorraine. The topic of sustainable energy and building is a theme for the future where technological innovation is possible .

Our program “Wood, from the tree to the calorie”, develops new projects focusing on the smart wall, the city of the future, energy recovery and environmental protection. Mobility is of paramount importance in this border town. About 20 international scientists have been hosted in our lab, somehow helping to make up for the legend of the cross-border brain drain.

By Pr M. El Ganaoui (mohammed.el-ganaoui@univ-lorraine.fr)

For an extended version, please follow this link :



[1] ICOME Int. Conf. Materials and Energy

[2] Energy and City of the Futur

Les journées scientifiques du GDR Sciences du Bois

Les Journées scientifiques du GDR Sciences du Bois prévues du 18 au 20 novembre prochains, vont se dérouler en format 100% virtuel. Un  programme adapté à cette situation est en ligne : https://bit.ly/3eWw7wP

Ces Journées combineront, comme chaque année, conférences invitées et présentation des posters en sessions plénières, susceptibles de couvrir l’ensemble des sciences du bois, et réunions de groupes de travail sur des thèmes plus focalisés.

La liste des posters est consultable au lien suivant : https://bit.ly/38GaAHE

La manifestation se déroulera essentiellement sur la plateforme Livestorm qui nécessite une inscription par demie journée. L’inscription est gratuite, ouverte à toutes et tous mais obligatoire pour pouvoir recevoir les liens de connexion. Pour vous inscrire rendez vous sur le site des journées par ce lien : https://bit.ly/36d47AS​.

N’hésitez pas à faire suivre l’annonce à vos collègues et réseaux.

Pour toute information: gdr-bois-2020@sciencesconf.org

Sino-French Environment Month

Sun Gate #2 is an art installation that combines traditional Chinese culture, contemporary art and innovative technology in the field of biomaterials. Inspired by an ancient Chinese sundial, Niko de la Faye uses natural materials, mainly mycelium of the wood decayer fungus Ganoderma lucidum (so-called reishi), to create this unique installation. SUN GATE #2 has partly been funded by the LabEx ARBRE.

With the World Conservation Congress in Marseille in a few months’ time and the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) taking place in Kunming, the Sino-French Environment Month has naturally chosen “Protecting Biodiversity” as the theme for this year’s event. From October 17 to November 15, the seventh edition of the Sino-French Environment Month will bring together eminent personalities and experts in their fields – artists, architects, researchers, writers, directors, etc. – to encourage collective and individual action to protect biodiversity and the sustainable use of its resources through a series of events.

Progress in biomass torrefaction

Since 2016, the WOOTHOC team of the Wood Sciences Laboratory (LERMAB), University of Lorraine, collaborates with Pr. Wei-Hsin CHEN, a highly cited researcher from the “National Cheng Kung University” in Taiwan. This collaboration have been strongly supported by the Labex ARBRE through a mobility grant to Prof. CHEN, a Ph.D. scholarship to Bo-Jhih LIN and International Master grant to Yu-Ying LIN. This fruitful collaboration led to high quality publications, including:

– A joint publication in the prestigious journal Progress in Energy and Combustion Science (Impact Factor 29) : W-H Chen, B-J Lin, Y-Y Lin, Y-S Chu, A Ubando, P Loke Show, O H Chyuan, J-S Chang, S-H Ho, A Culaba, A Pétrissans, M Pétrissans. Progress in biomass torrefaction: Principles, applications and challenges. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, in press and

– the ‘Applied Energy 2019 Highly Cited Research Paper Award’ to : Safar M., Lin B.-J., Chen W.-H., Langauer D., Chang J.-S., Raclavska H., Pétrissans A., Rousset P., Pétrissans M. (2019) Catalytic effects of potassium on biomass pyrolysis, combustion and torrefaction. Applied Energy 235.

Large-scale genomics sheds light on the evolutionary history of mutualistic forest-dwelling fungi

Mutualistic fungi, known as mycorrhizae, play a major role in terrestrial ecosystems because they help plants acquire nutrients. However, how these fungi became symbionts was a mystery until now. Answers to this question have been provided by an international research consortium coordinated by INRAE and the Joint Genome Institute (US Department of Energy) to which the University of Lorraine and CNRS also contributed. The group analysed the genomes of 135 species of forest-dwelling fungi. The study’s results clarify how fungi living as decomposers became plant symbionts over the course of evolution. These findings were published on October 12 in Nature Communications.

Fungi display a variety of modes of nutrition (i.e. lifestyles): some are pathogens that parasitize living organisms, some are saprotrophs that exploit decomposing organic matter, and yet others are mycorrhizae that form beneficial symbioses with plants. More specifically, the plant roots and fungi engage in a mutualistic relationship that benefits them both. The mycorrhizae help the plants absorb essential minerals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, promoting growth. The plants provide the mycorrhizal fungi with sugars and favourable environmental conditions. This mutualism has allowed plants to colonise most terrestrial habitats. To understand the evolutionary emergence of symbiotic traits in forest-dwelling fungi, the research consortium compared the functional traits encoded by the genomes of 135 fungal species, including 62 species of mycorrhizal fungi. Notably, the researchers sequenced and analysed, for the first time, the genomes of 29 symbiotic fungal species belonging to taxonomic orders like Russulales and Cantharellales; these taxa are important keystone species in temperate forest ecosystems.

The study revealed that, over evolutionary time, forest fungi transitioned multiple times from sapotrophic to symbiotic lifestyles. These transitions were accompanied by a loss of the genes that encode plant-cell-wall-degrading enzymes (such as cellulases and lignin-modifying enzymes). Other genes (e.g., sugar and amino acid transporters) are conserved in saprotrophic ancestors, but have been recruited for new symbiotic functions. Finally, several symbiosis-specific genes involved in fungus-plant communication were created de novo.

These transitional patterns were observed in all the families of ectomycorrhizal fungi belonging to the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota2  (which represent 20,000 species). This finding provides a striking example of recurrent convergent evolution3  taking place over a time span of more than 100 million years. The researchers also discovered a few “hybrid” fungi—species that are still capable of decomposing organic matter but that can also live in symbiosis within the roots of their host plants. In these species, the genes encoding plant cell-wall-degrading enzymes are still present. However, they are not expressed when the fungi live as symbionts. It is possible that these species illustrate the first steps towards strict symbiosis.

This study has considerably increased the genomic resources available for studying the mechanisms underlying the development and function of mycorrhizal symbioses. In addition to clarifying the evolutionary history of forest-dwelling fungi, these discoveries will facilitate future studies examining how fungal communities in forest ecosystems could deal with climate change.

[1]Ectomycorrhizal fungi colonise the roots of plants. They live in symbiosis with their hosts, helping the latter absorb minerals.

[2]Basidiomycota and Ascomycota are two fungus phyla. Species in Basidiomycota form spores on the outside of specialised cells called basidia; mushroom-forming fungi are the most emblematic members of this taxon. Species in Ascomycota form spores within specialised cells called asci; commonly recognised members of this taxon are the morels, truffles, and yeasts.

[3]Convergent evolution is a process whereby different species that experience the same environmental constraints evolve similar adaptive responses. In this case, ectomycorrhizal symbiosis is that convergent response.


Miyauchi, S., Kiss, E., Kuo, A. et al. Large-scale genome sequencing of mycorrhizal fungi provides insights into the early evolution of symbiotic traits. Nat Commun 11, 5125 (2020).

Une belle reconnaissance pour les actions du réseau Tous Chercheurs

Monsieur le député Dominique Potier a récemment déposé trois amendements dans le cadre de l’examen de la Loi de Programmation de la Recherche pour renforcer les liens Science-Société. Ces trois amendements ont été adoptés et sont clairement inspirés du dispositif Tous Chercheurs ” En réponse à la défiance des institutions de recherches et de régulation, il faut poursuivre l’effort d’association des citoyens à la définition des sujets d’investigation ainsi qu’aux pratiques de recherche, de l’expérimentation à la présentation des résultats. La philosophie propre à la pédagogie expérimentale du mouvement « Tous Chercheurs » porte à ce titre la promesse d’un nouveau paradigme, celui d’une science participative renouvelant le pacte civique de l’éducation populaire. 
Le Labex ARBRE est fier d’avoir soutenu la création de trois nouveaux laboratoires Tous Chercheurs en Lorraine depuis 2016, dont le laboratoire Tous Chercheurs de Nancy né en 2018. C’est dans ce laboratoire que des élèves et des citoyens sont régulièrement accueillis à l’occasion de stages de recherche ouverts au public, pour tenter de répondre avec les chercheurs à des questions de recherche nouvelles sur l’écologie des tiques et des maladies vectorisées par les tiques. Ces stages font partie intégrante du programme national de recherche participative CiTIQUE, initié par le Labex.
Cette mobilisation de citoyens-chercheurs au coeur même d’un projet de recherche d’envergure a inspiré l’alinéa 232 proposé par Monsieur le Député Potier, qui va être inséré au texte de loi : “Développer des projets de science citoyenne co-élaborés par des chercheurs et des publics d’horizons divers du type « Tous Chercheurs », associant des citoyens à la définition de sujets d’investigation et les confronter à la pratique de la recherche en laboratoire, de l’expérimentation jusqu’à la présentation des résultats ».

A LERMAB researcher in the spotlight

After obtaining the thesis prize from the SIMPPE Doctoral School (Science and Engineering of Molecules, Products, Processes and Energy), Mahdi Mubarok has been awarded the first-place prize for the outstanding international thesis in the field of Wood Science provided by the IAWS (International Academy of Wood Science). His thesis, concerning the chemical modification of beech wood, was carried out within the framework of a collaboration between the University of Lorraine and the University of Göttingen, thanks to the funding from LABEX ARBRE, under the supervision of Professors Holger MILITZ and Philippe GERARDIN. Aiming to develop environmentally friendly methods of wood preservation, his work has led to the development of non-biocidal treatments to improve the durability of wood against both decay fungi and termites. Arriving to the Lorraine as part of a Master Double Degree program between the University of Lorraine, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), and AgroParisTech, Mahdi’s thesis was becoming the opportunity for LERMAB to pursue its collaborations with Indonesia and IPB. The complete work has dedicated at least six publications in the peer-reviewed journals.

Séminaire LabEx : Anticiper les futurs des forêts – Sociologie des recherches forestières en France

Le 30 Septembre 2020 à 13h30, Antoine Dolez du Laboratoire SAGE ( Sociétés, Acteurs, Gouvernement en Europe, Université de Strasbourg) donnera un séminaire dans la salle de Conférences du Centre INRA GrandEst-Nancy, Champenoux.

Ce séminaire propose quelques réflexions sociologiques et historiques sur l’évolution et l’organisation des recherches forestières en France. Il s’appuie sur une enquête menée auprès de chercheurs et d’ingénieurs de l’INRAE et du CEFE qui modélisent les écosystèmes forestiers et anticipent leurs trajectoires futures. Le séminaire se concentre sur de deux résultats de cette recherche. Il est tout d’abord question de montrer autour de quels problèmes scientifiques les recherches forestières se structurent actuellement. Pour ce faire, je mobilise le concept d’ « agenda de recherche », et je distingue, ainsi, trois agendas des recherches forestières : l’agenda sylvicole, l’agenda écologique et l’agenda climatique. Puis, je détaille trois « visions des futurs des forêts » qui sont portées par les différents acteurs des recherches forestières. Ces « visions des futurs des forêts » concernent non seulement les rôles que les forêts peuvent jouer dans l’atténuation et l’adaptation au changement climatique, mais aussi, et surtout, l’ensemble des technologies, savoirs et pratiques que les acteurs pensent nécessaires de développer pour préparer les forêts aux défis de demain.

Antoine Dolez est sociologue des sciences, ses travaux s’inscrivent dans le courant des Science and Technology Studies (STS). Il a réalisé sa thèse de sociologie au Laboratoire Ecosystèmes et Sociétés en Montagnes (LESSEM) de l’INRAE et au laboratoire PACTE (Grenoble). Il est chercheur associé au laboratoire SAGE (Strasbourg). Ses recherches concernent la sociologie et l’histoire des recherches forestières, l’informatisation de la nature, le monitoring environnemental, et l’étude des futurs environnementaux.



Recent growth trends of conifers across Western Europe are controlled by thermal and water constraints and favored by forest heterogeneity

Tree growing conditions are changing rapidly in the face of climate change. Capturing tree-growth response to such changes across environmental contexts and tree species calls for a continuous forest monitoring over space. Based on 10,000 tree-ring measurements sampled across the systematic grid of the continuous French national forest inventory (NFI) over the 2006–2016 period, we evaluated the radial growth trends of eight conifer tree species prevalent in European forests across their native and introduced ranges and various bioclimatic contexts (n = 16 forest systems). For each forest system, radial increments were filtered out from tree, plot, soil and climatic normal influences to isolate environment-driven growth signals and quantify residual time-series. Associated growth trends across forest systems were then confronted against environmental variables (e.g. short-term averages and trends in seasonal climate). Trends for a given species were systematically more positive in cooler contexts (higher elevations or northern distribution margins) than in warmer contexts (plains). Decreases and increases in precipitation regimes were found to be associated with negative and positive tree growth trends, respectively. Remarkably, positive growth trends were mainly observed for native forest systems (7/9) and negative trends for introduced systems (5/7). Native forests showed a more heterogeneous forest structure as compared to introduced forests that, in line with observed positive dependence of tree growth trends onto both water availability and forest heterogeneity, appears to modulate the competitive pressure on water resource with ongoing summer maximum temperature increase. Over a short annually-resolved study period, we were able to capture tree growth responses coherent with climate change across diverse forest ecosystems. With ongoing accumulation of data, the continuous French NFI hence arises as powerful support to monitoring climate change effects on forests.

Read more …

Ols, C., Hervé, J.-C., Bontemps, J.-D., 2020. Recent growth trends of conifers across Western Europe are controlled by thermal and water constraints and favored by forest heterogeneity. Science of The Total Environment 742, 140453.