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Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology

Zone de texte éditable et éditée et rééditée

Jean-Philippe STEYER

Senior scientist
Jean-Philippe Steyer(1)


  • 1998: Habilitation to Supervise Research (HDR) in Process Control. University of Perpignan, France (the highest degree in the French academic system),
  • 1991: PhD in Process Control, University of Toulouse, France,
  • 1988: Master of Science in Process Control, Industrial Computing and Signal Processing, University of Toulouse, France.

Professional experience

  • Since 2004: Research Director at INRA
  • 2009-2016: Director of the “Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l’Environnement” of INRA in Narbonne, France (36 permanent positions – 150 persons including students and hosted partners)
  • 2005-2006: Scientific exchange at the Technical University of Denmark, Environment & Resources Department, under the FP6 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship #009500
  • 1993-2004: Junior Researcher at LBE-INRA
  • 1993: Process Engineer for the Sanofi company in their plant in Aramon, France
  • 1992: Post-Doc at the Chemical Process Modelling and Control Research Center, Lehigh University, PA, USA.

Research Profile

Since his early years of education, JP Steyer has always been interested in physics and applied mathematics. He discovered the fascinating word of bioprocesses during his Master and since then, he decided to focus his career on optimizing them by combining a pluridisciplinary point-of-view investigating advanced instrumentation, modeling, control and automation methodologies. After a PhD focused on white biotechnology (awarded ex-aequo as the “best PhD in France in applied process control” by the CNRS – National Center for Scientific Research), he worked for some time for the Sanofi company and was sent to USA to study interactions between hydrodynamic and biological models to improve production of pharmaceutical bio-products (human growth hormona). When back to France, he combined these aspects together with a methodology developed during his PhD on an industrial process and was awarded as the “best application of Artificial Intelligence for a process Industry” by the French Society of Chemistry. But his will to pursue an academic career was so strong that he decided to apply for a research position at INRA. Then, for 12 years, he initiated a research group on “process engineering and control engineering” (PEACE) at the “Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l’Environnement” (LBE) in Narbonne, France. During these exciting years, he built several collaborations with top-level research groups in France (among which, the BIOCORE group of INRIA in Sophia-Antipolis with which he still collaborates with 24 years later) and worldwide (eg., University of Louvain-La-Neuve and University of Gent in Belgium, University of Santiago de Compostella in Spain, and again, he still collaborates with them with 24 years later). All of this, together with young research fellows hired, allowed him to be recognized as one of the best experts in modeling and control of anaerobic digestion processes, the main applied research topic in his laboratory. In 2005, he applied for an Individual Marie-Curie Fellowship and was awarded to spend one year at the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen to study biohydrogen production. This provided him with a unique opportunity to broaden his scientific expertise and he could then deeply investigate the links between microbial ecology and process engineering. And this is his scientific route since then! Indeed, for the last 10 years, all the PhD students he supervised were dealing with modeling of microbial diversity, integrating thermodynamics in mass balanced models, developing metabolic models together with innovative real-time instrumentation systems to get closer insights of the ecosystems life in bioprocesses. He also broaden his fields of applications, with anaerobic digestion as the core bioprocess but integrating it with innovative processes such as microalgae cultivation for bioenergy and bioproducts sustainable production.

From 2009 to 2016, he became the Director of the LBE and he dedicated his energy to place his laboratory as one of the best research labs in the world working on Environmental Biotechnology, a research theme he initiated there in 2009. In 8 years, the laboratory growth was exponential (with 30% increase of people and budget, rising from 60 full time equivalent positions in 2009 to 90+ in 2016) and besides his administrative duties, he was always dedicated to Science.

Since 1st of January 2017, he is fully back in research and his wants to dedicate most of his time and energy to his fields of expertise: environmental biorefinery, waste and water resource recovery, anaerobic digestion, dark fermentation, microalgae and of course, instrumentation, modeling and control of bioprocesses.


Total (august 2017):    1 book, 21 book chapters, 257 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 453 presentations in national and international conferenced

Web of Science :            H-index : 36 and 5786 citations (25,16 citations on average per paper). 2nd author referenced on the WOS with “anaerobic digestion” as keyword.

Latest publications on my fields of interest:


  1. Charnier, C., Latrille, E., Jimenez, J., Lemoine, M., Boulet, J.-C., Miroux, J., Steyer, J.-P. 2017. Fast characterization of solid organic waste content with near infrared spectroscopy in anaerobic digestion. Waste Management, 59:140-148.
  2. Charnier, C., Latrille, E., Lardon, L., Miroux, J., Steyer, J.-P. 2016. Combining pH and electrical conductivity measurements to improve titrimetric methods to determine ammonia nitrogen, volatile fatty acids and inorganic carbon concentrations. Water Research, 95:268-279.
  3. Robles, A., Latrille, E., Ribes, J., Bernet, N., Steyer, J.-P. 2016. Electrical conductivity as a state indicator for the start-up period of anaerobic fixed-bed reactors. Water Science and Technology, 73(9):2294-2300.
  4. Jimenez, J., Aemig, Q., Doussiet, N., Steyer, J.-P., Houot, S., Patureau, D. 2015. A new organic matter fractionation methodology for organic wastes: bioaccessibility and complexity characterization for treatment optimization. Bioresource Technology, 194:344-353.
  5. Jimenez, J., Latrille, E., Harmand, J., Robles, A., Ferrer, J., Gaida, D., Wolf, C., Mairet, F., Bernard, O., Alcaraz-Gonzalez, V., Mendez-Acosta, H., Zitomer, D., Totzke, D., Spanjers, H., Jacobi, F., Guwy, A., Dinsdale, R., Premier, G., Mazhegrane, S., Ruiz-Filippi, G., Seco, A., Ribeiro, T., Pauss, A., Steyer, J.-P. 2015. Instrumentation and control of anaerobic digestion processes: a review and some research challenges. Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 14(4):615-648.
  6. Olsson, G., Nielsen, M., Yuan, A., Lynggaard-Jensen, A., Steyer, J.-P. (ed.). 2005. Instrumentation, Control and Automation in Wastewater Systems, In Scientific & Technical Report No. 15. IWA Publishing. 264 pages.

Modeling and Control of Bioprocesses

  1. Charnier, C., Latrille, E., Jimenez, J., Torrijos, M., Sousbie, P., Miroux, J., and Steyer, J.-P. 2017. Fast ADM1 implementation for the optimization of feeding strategy using near infrared spectroscopy. Water Research,  122:27-35.
  2. Alcaraz-Gonzalez, V., Jauregui-Medina, E., Steyer, J.-P., García-Sandoval, J., Méndez-Acosta, H.,  Gonzalez-Alvarez, V. 2017. Simultaneous COD and VFA unmeasured process inputs estimation in actual anaerobic wastewater treatment processes. Control Engineering Practice, 60:118-123.
  3. Robles, A., Latrille, E., Ruano, M. V., Steyer, J.-P. 2017. A fuzzy-logic-based controller for methane production in anaerobic fixed-film reactors. Environmental Technology, 38(1):42-52.
  4. Widder, S., Allen, R. J., Pfeiffer, T., Curtis, T. P., Wiuf, C., Sloan, W. T., Cordero, O. X., Brown, S. P., Momeni, B., Shou, W., Kettle, H., Flint, H. J., Haas, A. F., Laroche, B., Kreft, J.-U., Rainey, P. B., Freilich, S., Schuster, S., Milferstedt, K., van der Meer, J., Groszkopf, T., Huisman, J., Free, A., Picioreanu, C., Quince, C., Klapper, I., Labarthe, S., Smets, B. F., Wang, H., Fellows, I. N. I., Soyer, O. S., Allison, S. D., Chong, J., Lagomarsino, M. C., Croze, O. A., Hamelin, J., Harmand, J., Hoyle, R., Hwa, T. T., Jin, Q., Johnson, D. R., de Lorenzo, V., Mobilia, M., Murphy, B., Peaudecerf, F., Prosser, J., Quinn, R. A., Ralser, M., Smith, A. G., Steyer, J.-P., Swainston, N., Tarnita, C. E., Trably, E., Warren, P. B., Wilmes, P. 2016. Challenges in microbial ecology: building predictive understanding of community function and dynamics. ISME Journal, 10:1-12.
  5. García-Gen, S., Sousbie, P., Rangaraj, G., Lema, J.-M., Rodríguez, J., Steyer, J.-P., Torrijos, M. 2015. Kinetic modelling of anaerobic hydrolysis of solid wastes, including disintegration processes. Waste Management, 35(0):96-104.

Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas

  1. Capson-Tojo, G., Trably, E., Rouez, M., Crest, M., Steyer, J.-P., Delgenes, J.-P.,  Escudie, R. 2017. Dry anaerobic digestion of food waste and cardboard at different substrate loads, solid contents and co-digestion proportions, Bioresource Technology, 233:166-175.
  2. Jimenez, J., Lei, H., Steyer, J.-P, Houot, S. Patureau, D. 2017. Methane production and fertilizing value of organic waste: Organic matter characterization for a better prediction of valorization pathways. Bioresource Technology, 241:1012-1021.
  3. Riggio, S., Jernandez-Shek, M., Torrijos, M., Vives, G., Esposito, G., van Hullebusch, E. D., Steyer, J.-P., Escudié, R. 2017. Mesophilic anaerobic digestion of several types of spent livestock bedding in a batch leach-bed reactor: substrate characterization and process performance. Waste Management, 59:129-139.
  4. Aemig, Q., Chéron, C., Delgenès, N., Jimenez, J., Houot, S., Steyer, J.-P., Patureau, D. 2016. Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sludge organic matter pools as a driving force of their fate during anaerobic digestion. Waste Management, 48:389-396.
  5. Capson-Tojo, G., Rouez, M., Crest, M., Steyer, J.-P., Delgenès, J.-P., Escudié, R. 2016. Food waste valorization via anaerobic processes: a review. Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 15(3):499-547.
  6. Godon, J.-J., Arulazhagan, P., Steyer, J.-P., Hamelin, J. 2016. Vertebrate bacterial gut diversity: size also matters. BMC Ecology, 16(1):12.
  7. Maynaud, G., Pourcher, A.-M., Ziebal, C., Cuny, A., Druilhe, C., Steyer, J.-P., Wéry, N. 2016. Persistence and Potential Viable but Non-culturable State of Pathogenic Bacteria during Storage of Digestates from Agricultural Biogas Plants. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7:1469.
  8. Rouches, E., Herpoël-Gimbert, I., Steyer, J.-P., Carrere, H. 2016. Improvement of anaerobic degradation by white-rot fungi pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 59:179-198.

Dark Fermentation and Biohydrogen

  1. Cabrol, L., Marone, A., Tapia Venegas, E., Steyer, J.-P., Ruiz-Filippi, G.,  Trably, E. 2017. Microbial ecology of fermentative hydrogen producing bioprocesses: useful insights for driving the ecosystem function. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 41:118-123.
  2. Marone, A., Ayala-Campos, O., Trably, E., Carmona-Martínez, A. A., Moscoviz, R., Latrille, E., Steyer, J.-P., Alcaraz-Gonzalez, V., Bernet, N. 2017. Coupling dark fermentation and microbial electrolysis to enhance bio-hydrogen production from agro-industrial wastewaters and by-products in a bio-refinery framework. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 42(3):1609-1621.
  3. Hajjaji, N., Martinez, S., Trably, E., Steyer, J.-P., Helias, A. 2016. Life cycle assessment of hydrogen production from biogas reforming. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 41(14):6064-6075.
  4. Benomar, S., Ranava, D., Cardenas, M., Trably, E., Rafrafi, Y., Ducret, A., Hamelin, J., Lojou, E., Steyer, J-P., Giudici-Orticoni, M.-T. 2015. Nutritional stress induces exchange of cell material and energetic coupling between bacterial species. Nature Communications, 6:10.
  5. Monlau, F., Kaparaju, P., Trably, E., Steyer, J.-P., Carrere, H. 2015. Alkaline pretreatment to enhance one-stage CH4 and two-stage H2/CH4 production from sunflower stalks: Mass, energy and economical balances. Chemical Engineering Journal, 260(0):377-385.


  1. Baroukh, C., Steyer, J.-P., Bernard, O., Chachuat, B. 2016. Dynamic flux balance analysis of the metabolism of microalgae under a diurnal light cycle. IFAC-PapersOnLine, 49(7):791-796.
  2. Mendez, L., Sialve, B., Tomás-Pejó, E., Ballesteros, M., Steyer, J.-P., González-Fernández, C. 2016. Comparison of Chlorella vulgaris and cyanobacterial biomass: cultivation in urban wastewater and methane production. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, 39(5):703-712.
  3. Turon, V., Trably, E., Fouilland, E., Steyer, J.-P. 2016. Potentialities of dark fermentation effluent as substrates for microalgae growth: A review. Process Biochemistry, 51(11):1843-1854.
  4. Baroukh, C., Muñoz-Tamayo, R., Bernard, O., Steyer, J.-P. 2015. Mathematical modeling of unicellular microalgae and cyanobacteria metabolism for biofuel production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 33(0):198-205.
  5. Baroukh, C., Muñoz-Tamayo, R., Steyer, J.-P., Bernard, O. 2015. A state of the art of metabolic networks of unicellular microalgae and cyanobacteria for biofuel production. Metabolic Engineering, 30:49-60.
  6. Collet, P., Hélias, A., Lardon, L., Steyer, J.-P., Bernard, O. 2015. Recommendations for Life Cycle Assessment of algal fuels. Applied Energy, 154(0):1089-1102.
  7. Passos, F., Gutiérrez, R., Brockmann, D., Steyer, J.-P., García, J., Ferrer, I. 2015. Microalgae production in wastewater treatment systems, anaerobic digestion and modelling using ADM1. Algal Research, 10:55-63.
  8. Sialve, B., Gales, A., Hamelin, J., Wery, N., Steyer, J.-P. 2015. Bioaerosol emissions from open microalgal processes and their potential environmental impacts: what can be learned from natural and anthropogenic aquatic environments? Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 33(0):279-286.
  9. Solimeno, A., Samsó, R., Uggetti, E., Sialve, B., Steyer, J.-P., Gabarró, A., García, J. 2015. New mechanistic model to simulate microalgae growth. Algal Research, 12:350-358.
  10. Turon, V., Trably, E., Fayet, A., Fouilland, E., Steyer, J.-P. 2015. Raw dark fermentation effluent to support heterotrophic microalgae growth: microalgae successfully outcompete bacteria for acetate. Algal Research, 12:119-125.