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Processing and Agro-Resources
Processing and Agro-Resources (UP 2018.C103)


The research carried out in the two units that will be merging mainly concerns food and non-food applications of agro-resources.

The PETALES team will focus on characterizing agro-resources during processing and look at the impact of processing on intestinal homeostasis following early exposure.

The VAM²IN team will study the structure–function relationship of materials and bio-based products with a view to non-food uses.




The scientific project
About the unit

The Processing and Agro-Resources Unit is under the aegis of UniLaSalle, an agricultural engineering school founded in January 2016 following the merger between the Institut Polytechnique LaSalle in Beauvais and ESITPA in Rouen.

The unit is composed of associate professors from the former EGEAL (Gene Expression and Epigenetic Regulation by Food Components) Unit in Beauvais and research area 2 of the former AGRI’TERR (Agroecology and Land Use Systems) Unit in Rouen, as well as associate professors who were not previously part of these former units (for example associate professors from Béthune University Institute of Technology).

The program focuses on the processing and application of whole crops with a view to sustainable development, from research into their growth mechanisms to analysis of their properties and functions when they reach end use, whether this use is a food or non-food application. The unit comprises two teams:

  • The PETALES team: Processing for food uses and effects on health;
  • The VAM²IN team: Processing for non-food uses.


Official assessment from HCERES (in French)

∗ HCERES : French High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education

PETALES team (food processing and effects on health)

When agricultural raw materials are used in any agri-food process, the major stages in processing may alter initial molecular assemblies by potentially generating new structures/assemblies and/or new compounds that were not in the original product. All these structures/molecules travel through the digestive tract, with or without changes, where they may have an impact. To understand these health effects in connection with our scientific project, we have introduced a number of tools and methods designed to:

1 – Characterize agro-resources during processing

It is important to pay closer attention to the quality of the initial raw materials selected and also to better manage the processes used. We evaluate the effects of heat treatment on the food matrix by characterizing and quantifying the new compounds that are formed during this processing stage:(i) Characterizing the potential impact of other types of processing of the food matrix; (ii) Determining variability factors in the composition of unprocessed raw materials; (iii) Implementing new dimensions of characterization to identify changes in the structure/conformation of the biopolymers present.


2 – Analyze how the processing of agro-resources affects intestinal homeostasis following early exposure

The development and maintenance of intestinal homeostasis have a major impact on health, and the positive and negative effects of food consumption, whether or not that food has undergone processing, are a key focus of study for our team. We evaluate how assemblies and/or new compounds formed by processing affect the development and maintenance of intestinal homeostasis. The researchers use in vivo and in vitro models to shed light on biological effects and molecular and cellular mechanisms and to measure their potential impact.

Our tasks include: (i) Evaluating the impact of heat treatment and/or other processing techniques on molecular assemblies/molecules and their technological, organoleptic, health and nutritional functions; (ii) Determining the origins of variability in raw materials and the role of this variability in the changes observed during processing; (iii) Identifying the conditions needed for these molecules to affect the behavior of the various cells in the gut region (viability testing, growth, differentiation, gene expression, expression of epigenetic markers on cultures and co-cultures of cells in vitro); (iv) Estimating the impact of these molecules on intestinal homeostasis (animal models, characterization of physiological and molecular responses to exposure to the molecules under study).

VAM²IN team (developing innovative molecules and materials from agro-resources)

Today’s producers, faced with a difficult economic and regulatory context, are constantly looking to develop innovative materials that are more environmentally and health friendly. The use of agricultural by-products as raw plant materials is a promising alternative solution to these challenges, since these products are renewable and produced in large quantities. The VAM²IN team aims to identify new applications for crops as part of an integrated approach to land use development. The researchers target potential non-food uses of agro-resources, including turning them into materials and producing molecules of interest for future applications, within innovative sectors that will boost the development of the bio-economy, based on the expertise of this new team and its partners.

1 – Construction and functionalization of new bio-based materials

The team’s research is geared towards improving our understanding of the assembly mechanisms of biopolymers extracted from agricultural resources and co-products that are involved in material development processes. The aim is to control the structure, functions and durability of materials by making the best use of the intrinsic characteristics of biopolymers and, if necessary, incorporating new technologies (extrusion, RMX, steam injection compression, ozonation, etc.) into processes for the development of assemblies that are specific to these bio-based materials. Interactions between components and interfaces are key to understanding these new assemblies (structure–property relationships).


We particularly focus on: (i) the role of the composition and structure of agro-resources in the characteristics of agro-materials after implementation; (ii) how processing and the intrinsic properties of raw plant materials affect molecular assemblies and their functions (chemical and physical interactions, physical performance and preferential affinities). These experimental approaches will be combined with statistical modeling techniques.

2 – Deconstruction of agro-resources for the production of bio-based materials

The aim of this research is to analyze and improve characterization of the mechanisms underpinning the deconstruction of plant biomass fractions (native and/or processed polymer assemblies) with the aim of controlling and optimizing the production of energy and/or synthon-type molecules of interest (chemical intermediates for green chemistry reactions).

The researchers will attempt to elucidate how interactions between the structural properties of lignocellulosic biomass are linked with its capacity to be deconstructed using sophisticated pretreatment technologies (physical and chemical, thermal, mechanical, etc.) involving few or no chemical reagents. Any pretreatment techniques used must be environmentally friendly.

Research into agro-resource deconstruction may also involve other aspects, for example the biodegradability of new assemblies and applications of molecules obtained using biological degradation processes.

Members of the unit

Team 1: PETALES (food processing and effects on health)

Leader: AUSSENAC Thierry

Co-leader: BARBEZIER Nicolas




Director of the Unit: AUSSENAC Thierry

Deputy Director of the Unit: LEBLANC Nathalie

Team 2: VAM²IN (developing innovative molecules and materials from agro-resources)

Leader: LEBLANC Nathalie

Co-leader: RIBEIRO Thierry


  • ACHA Victor: Associate Professor of Biological Processes, Nanotechnology and Biodetection Technologies – Publications
  • Jean-Paul Bonhoure: Associate Professor of Applied Chemistry and Processing of Plant Resources
  • DANTAN Jérôme: Associate Professor of IT, Databases and Data Mining
  • GATTIN Richard (Accreditation to supervise research/HDR): Head of the Food Processing Industry Area of Expertise
  • LEBLANC Nathalie (Accreditation to supervise research/HDR): Deputy Director of the Processing and Agro-Resources Unit
  • Hélène Lenormand: Associate Professor of Food and Non-Food Applications of Agro-Resources
  • MAHIEU Angélique : Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry of Polymers
  • MAREK Delphine: Coordinator for the 2nd year Agronomy and Agroindustry Specialization
  • RALAINIRINA Robert : Associate Professor of Process Engineering
  • RIBEIRO Thierry (Accreditation to supervise research/HDR): Associate Professor of Bioprocesses – Anaerobic Digestion – Publications
  • TAIBI Salima (Accreditation to supervise research/HDR): Head of the Modeling, Mathematics and IT Department and the MSc in Agricultural & Food Data Management
  • TERRIE Caroline: Associate Professor of Chemistry – Publications
  • ANDRE Laura : Research Coordinator for Bioprocesses/Anaerobic Digestion
  • LAKHAL Lyes : Research Coordinator for Spectroscopy
  • HOANG Levinh : Research Coordinator for Process Engineering
  • POUYET Frédéric: Head of the Ozone R&D Facility – Publications



Associate members (Béthune University Institute of Technology):


PhD students
PhD students:
  • HEDGE Vikas (2016 – 2018): regional TIGRE project (fiber-based composite structures and plant aggregates), Development of a core material for thermopressed plant aggregate-based composites.
  • ZMAMOU Hafida (2016 – 2019): ADEME PIA2 DIVA project (industrial demonstrators utilizing agro-residues in eco-construction and bio-renovation).
  • BACOUP Feriel (2017 – 2019): INTERREG VA France (Manche) England SB&WRC project (Sustainable Bio&Waste Resources for Construction).
  • GUIBOURDENCHE Marion (2017 – 2020) – UPJV (Amiens): The impacts of a pesticide (CPF) and an obesogenic diet on fetal programming and the onset of obesity and metabolic disorders: an in vivo and in vitro approach.
  • HERNANDEZ SHEK Manuel Alejandro (2017 – 2020) – CIFRE thesis under the co-supervision of UTC / UniLaSalle – André Pauss (UTC) and Thierry Ribeiro (UniLaSalle): Identification of optimal operating conditions of an anaerobic digestion process for agricultural by-products by dry methods, using continuous culturing and corridors (PROMETSCO).
  • COUTU Arnaud (2017 – 2020) – FEDER/SIAAP thesis under the co-supervision of UTC / UniLaSalle – André Pauss (UTC) and Thierry Ribeiro (UniLaSalle): Utilization of horse manure and residual wastewater treatment plant mud combined by anaerobic digestion (VALOEQUIBOUE).
  • MERCIER-HUAT Maël (2018 – 2021) – CIFRE thesis under the co-supervision of UTC / UniLaSalle – André Pauss (UTC) and Thierry Ribeiro (UniLaSalle): Anaerobic digestion of shellfish by-products in pilot reactors and the lab (METHACOQUE).
Theses defended:
  • ANCELLET Laure (October 13, 2017) – UPJV (Amiens): Study of how a process for vitamin D enrichment using pulsed light affects the quality of an ingredient.
  • PEROT Maxime (October 03, 2017) – UPJV (Amiens)
  • HELOU Helou (December 17, 2014) – AgroParisTech (Paris): How the content of Maillard products in bread is affected by the quality of the raw material and the bread-making process. The effects of the melanoidins in bread on the gut microbiota.
  • LOAEC Gregory (June 27, 2014) – UPJV (Amiens): The development of methods for analyzing acrylamide and CML in roasted chicory and their precursor amino acid in chicory root. Assessing ways of reducing these two newly formed compounds by varietal selection and choice of agricultural practice.
  • AL AMIR Issam (December 03, 2013) – UTC (Compiègne): The effect of heat treatments of food on the modulation of digestive inflammation.
Current projects
  • Ozone 2020 project (2016-2022)

Although the efficiency of ozone has been demonstrated in a variety of industrial applications, it is still rarely used in the agro-industrial sector. But increasingly stringent health requirements mean that ongoing improvements to food preparation methods are needed. The FUI (French Joint Ministerial Fund) Ozone 2020 project aims to support these developments by anticipating and responding to key challenges in the areas of food quality and safety. The project involves a number of partners, drawing on the expertise of several academic and industry specialists (Actalia, Bonduelle, Etia, Suez Environnement and UniLaSalle). The aim is to develop and implement two applications to reduce the biological contamination of plant-based products. The project will initially target dried products and ready-to-eat raw vegetables.

Contact: AUSSENAC Thierry

  • IMPALA project (2017-2020)

The impacts of a pesticide (CPF) and an obesogenic diet on fetal programming and the onset of obesity and metabolic disorders: an in vivo and in vitro approach. Project coordinated by the PERITOX_INERIS EA 4285 UMI 01 Laboratory at UPJV and supported by various regional funding schemes.

Contact: ANTON Pauline

  • CapsAntiOx project (2016-2019)

Microencapsulation of antioxidant molecules for the enrichment of food products. Project coordinated by the BMBI Unit at UTC and supported by funding from the Hauts-de-France Regional Council. UniLaSalle is a partner.

Contact: ANTON Pauline

  •  NEONAL project (2013-2016)

The effects of newly formed compounds and pesticides on the development of allergies in infants. Project carried out in partnership with the PERITOX_INERIS EA 4285 UMI 01 Laboratory and the ICAP platform at UPJV, supported by funding from the Picardy Regional Council. UniLaSalle is the project leader.

Contact: DELAYRE-ORTHEZ Carine

  • TIGRE project (2016-2018)

TIGRE (fiber-based composite structures and plant aggregates) is a regional and ERDF project. The aim is to use agro-resources to replace some petroleum-based materials or materials that involve energy-intensive production. This represents a highly promising approach to tackle the depletion of petroleum resources, environmental pollution caused by plastics, and climate change.

Partners: LOMC UMR 6294 CNRS, Analyses & Surface – Eric Beucher Laboratory

Contact: Nathalie Leblanc

  • INTERREG VA France (Manche) England SB&WRC project (2017-2019)

This project will develop new thermal insulation prototypes for the construction industry using bio-based raw materials derived from waste.

Partners: Nomadéis Le Havre (Nomadéis), Ecole Supérieure d’Ingénieurs des Travaux de Construction de Caen (ESITC Caen), University of Bath (UBath), University of Brighton (UoB), Construction 21 (C21), Veolia Propreté Nord Normandie (Véolia PNN), Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP)

Contact: Richard Gattin

  • MACHI ERDF regional project (2017-2018)

The MACHI project (chirality in materials) aims to pave the way for the development of future materials by anticipating the need for homochirality in various sectors ranging from molecular to macromolecular materials. The pharmaceutical and organic industries have already demonstrated the importance of adapting to this requirement.

Partners: University of Rouen (SMS, AMME-LECAP, PBS-MPBM)

Contact: Nathalie Leblanc

  • AAP ADEME GRAINE ECO-TERRA project (2017-2020)

Development of eco-materials made of light earth for efficient, sustainable buildings: Understanding the links between the variability of the components (plant aggregates and earth) of a clay concrete lightened with agro-resources and the physical properties of blends, with the aim of optimizing resources from different geographical areas. The environmental impacts will be quantified (LCA).

Partners: ECO-PERTICA, UniLaSalle, Université Bretagne Sud – LIMAT laboratory, Association of Short-Supply-Chain Hemp Producers, IFSTTAR Bougenais, CEREMA, ARPE, LCDD

Contact: Hélène Lenormand

  • OLCO ERDF project (2016-2019)

The OLCO project (optimization of flax composites) aims to improve theoretical knowledge about the links between the quality and properties of agro-resources and to develop and optimize the characterization of flax fiber tape from the LSM plant to meet the needs of the flax composites market.

Partners: Saint Martin linen producer (LSM)

Contact: Nathalie Leblanc

  • VALOEQUIBOUE project (2018-2022)

The VALOEQUIBOUE project – utilization of horse manure and residual wastewater treatment plant mud combined by anaerobic digestion –, is led by UniLaSalle, the Université de Technologie de Compiègne (UTC) and SIAAP-DDP and is part of the second phase of the MOCOPEE program (modeling, control and optimization of wastewater treatment processes) (2018-2022).

The anaerobic digestion of horse manure combined with wastewater treatment plant mud is key to the utilization of these resources. This process, known as co-digestion, represents huge potential for biogas production and offers high added value in terms of energy, agronomy and costs. The project is divided into several tasks carried out as part of Arnaud Coutu’s PhD: i) pretreatment of horse manure using ozonation and other innovative techniques to improve anaerobic digestion; ii) biodegradation of horse manure by wet anaerobic digestion; iii) determining operating parameters (hydraulic retention time, temperature, agitation, applied load, single or sequential reactor, etc.); iv) co-digestion with wastewater treatment plant mud and potentially other resources.

Contact: Thierry Ribeiro

  • ELEMENTA project (2014-2017)

Study of how a process for vitamin D enrichment using an innovative procedure affects the quality of an ingredient. This research program aims to obtain a new vitamin D-enriched ingredient via confidential UV treatment. The aim is to characterize the impact of this treatment on raw food materials for everyday consumption and to lay the foundations for subsequent marketing authorization. We are working on new raw materials for which the efficacy of the process in enriching vitamin D content and limiting the formation of undesirable new compounds still needs to be proven.

Contact: Céline Niquet-Leridon

  • ProtAlSafe project (2013-2017)

ProtAlSafe is an FUI (French Joint Ministerial Fund) project accredited by the IAR and Valorial competitive clusters, with the support of CRITT Santé Bretagne, led by the Guaranteed Gluten Free (GGF) company and involving several partners: ABCD Nutrition, Biofortis, the BIA Unit at the INRA Angers-Nantes Center and the EGEAL Unit. This collaborative three-year project, worth €3.7 million, began in January 2014. The aim is to improve the living standards of celiac patients via an approved, patented nutritional approach based on gluten-free products associated with polymeric binders and symbiotics. A preclinical trial is performed to examine inflammatory factors, pathophysiological characteristics and the gut microbiota. This is then complemented by a clinical trial designed to confirm the efficacy of the nutritional solution for celiac disease and its organoleptic qualities for patients.

Contact: Carine Delayre-Orthez

  • LIPS regional project (2015-2017)

Integrated program for the protection and sanitary quality of plants: two ongoing PhD projects on the following topics: « Eco-production and utilization of flax: eco-production to tackle Fusarium oxysporum and the impact on agro-material properties » and « Characterization of exogenous organic matter: effects on the stability of carbon forms in agricultural soils ».

Partners: EA 4358 GlycoMev University of Rouen

Contact: Richard Gattin

  • AMBIOS chair and AgRs MSc equipment project – logistics & bio-based materials (2017-2021)

Acquisition of high-tech equipment for the first phase in the introduction of the « Agro-resources and Bio-based Materials for Construction » chair. The aim is to bring together upstream companies (involved in managing the availability of deposits and primary processing of raw plant materials) and downstream companies (bio-based construction industry specialists).

Partners: ESITC, ISEL, ENSA, ECAM, ParexGroup, Karibati, Ecotechnilin, CapSeine, Nov&atech, Terre de lin

Contact: Mohamed Ragoubi

  • PIA2 ADEME DIVA project

The DIVA project (industrial demonstrators utilizing agro-residues in eco-construction and bio-renovation) aims to organize the various sectors involved in the bio-renovation of old buildings and eco-construction, from the production (harvesting, processing and supply) of raw plant materials (sunflower, corn and rape pith and bark) to applications in old and new buildings.

Partners: PAREX Group, Ovalie Innovation, GDA Loches, La Dauphinoise, ENTPE, FLDI

Contact: Hélène Lenormand

  • CHANVRISOL project (2017-2018)

Reorganizing local supply chains for hemp-based building materials, if possible by creating short supply chains that generate economic activity and non-relocatable jobs in rural areas. Removing, or helping to remove, administrative and technical barriers identified at local level (Orne), regional level (Normandy) and national level by adopting a « chain »-based approach.

Partners: Association of Short-Supply-Chain Hemp Producers, ECO-PERTICA, Association for the Promotion of Green Building (ARPE)

Contact: Hélène Lenormand