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Biogéochimie moléculaire

Head of the research group

Pierre ADAM
Directeur de Recherche au CNRS

Year of creation of the group- 2007

Secretarial and accounting services provided by

email: paola.sager@unistra.fr
Phone : +33 (0)3 68 85 12 41

Permanent members

  • Pierre ADAM
    Directeur de Recherche au CNRS
    email :
    Phone : +33 (0)3 68 85 28 04
  • Philippe SCHAEFFER
    Directeur de Recherche au CNRS
    email :
    Phone: +33 (0)3 68 85 28 05
    Ingénieur d'Etude à l'Unistra
    Phone : +33 (0)3 68 85 28 00

Non-permanent members

PhD students

  • Gaël MARTIN


Description of the research group

The Molecular Biogeochemistry research group is specialized in the detailed molecular study of complex organic mixtures from soils, sediments, oils and archaeological objects. It is part of the Doctoral School of Chemical Sciences and is host laboratory for Masters in Analytical Sciences and Molecular & Supramolecular Chemistry.

Research topics

The research topics of the Molecular Biogeochemistry Laboratory are at the interface between analytical organic (bio) chemistry and synthetic chemistry.

Main areas of research

  • Elucidation of the origin(s) of organic matter in natural environments (soils, recent and ancient sediments). Study of biological markers (biomarkers)
  • Biogeochemistry of recent ecosystems: microbial ecology; processes of microbial and abiotic transformation of molecules of biological origin
  • Molecular analysis of fossil organic matter (coals, oils, oil fractions); Reconstruction of ancient sedimentary environments using biomarkers
  • Molecular archaeology: study of organic constituents from archaeological objects (balms, coatings, perfumes, ...)
  • Environmental chemistry: Evolution / biodegradation of organic pollutants (petroleum hydrocarbons)

Research projects are based on structural identification (synthesis, NMR) of natural products (steroids, terpenoids, pigments, etc.) and their derivatives in natural environments. This work is carried out within the framework of numerous academic (national and international) and industrial collaboration.

List of equipment and instruments

  • Gas chromatography with FID (GC-FID)
  • Analytical and preparative HPLC (detection: diode array, refractive index)
  • Gas Chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS-MS)
  • Gas chromatography coupled with isotope ratio mass spectrometry
    (C, H, N, O; GC-IRMS)
  • Liquid chromatography coupled with ion trap mass spectrometry
    (APCI, ESI, APPI, MSn)

Additional information

  • Industrial collaborations: Total, PSA, Lubrizol, IFPEN
  • National and international academic collaborations:
  • DFG-Research Center for Ocean Margins, University of Bremen (Germany)
  • Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, (The Netherlands),
  • Geologisches Institut and Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH, Zürich, (Switzerland)
  • Louvre Museum, Paris (France)
  • National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP, France)
  • Image, City, Environment Laboratory (UMR 7362, CNRS, University of Strasbourg),
  • Adaptation to extreme environments. Laboratory of Microbiology, Adaptation, Pathogenocity (UMR 5240), Villeurbanne (France).
  • Laboratory of Geology :  Earth, Planets, Environment (UMR 5276, CNRS-Université de Lyon I-ENS Lyon), Villeurbanne (France).
  • Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian University, Canberra (Australia)
  • Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH, Zürich (Switzerland),
  • Museum Conservation Institute,Smithonian Institution, Suitland (Maryland, USA)
  • Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, University of Manchester (United Kingdom)
  • School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester (United Kingdom)

Photo gallery

A small overview of our research group