Phytoremediation and plant physiology

Adjunct professor
Department of biological sciences - University of Montreal

Botanist and head of research & scientific development department
Montreal Botanical Garden


The studies conducted by our laboratory examine the physiological functioning of plants, and address a variety of environmental issues. In recent years, numerous applied research projects have been conducted in order to explore possible solutions to various environmental problems, while simultaneously contributing to our understanding of plant functioning.

The assimilation of nutrients, contaminants, as well as trace elements are recurring themes studied in our laboratory. For example, we have examined the impact of the use of various types of organic fertilizers (sludge, pig manure, etc.) on plants and the environment; other studies have focused on the presence of heavy metals, whether in organic fertilizer or in soil in the form of contaminants. More recently, studies were undertaken on contaminated soils with organic pollutants (PAH, PCB, etc.). In this context, studies integrate research in genomics and bioinformatics and involved collaborations with researchers from other disciplines. These studies are conducted to better understand the complex interactions between pollutants, soil, plant roots and microorganisms at the rhizosphere level.

Our team has been particularly interested in short rotation coppice of willows (Salix). Our aim has been to maximize the potential of the unique characteristics of these species: rapid growth and root proliferation, and exceptional aptitude for vegetative propagation. We are interested by the operational feasibility of SRC with willows in Eastern Canada by improving cultivation techniques and selecting new varieties.

Keywords: Ecophysiology of woody species • Biomass yield of woody crop cultivated for bioenergy and environment applications • Nutrition and assimilation under various environmental conditions • Restoration of contaminated sites •  Phytoremediation • Decontamination of municipal sludge 


Research professionals
Patrick Benoist

Research assistants
Noémie Legault
Alex Licinio

Postdoctoral fellows
Adrian Paul

Ph.D. students
Noël Fagoaga, co-supervision with Frédéric Pitre
Béatrice Gervais-Bergeron, co-supervision with Pierre-Luc Chagnon
Ahmed Jerbi, co-supervision with Frédéric Pitre
Eszter Sas, co-supervision with Frédéric Pitre

M.Sc. students
Marie-Pierre Bastien-Thibault
Andréanne Beauchemin-Nadeau, co-supervision with Stéphanie Pellerin
Marc-Olivier Brunette
Alexandre Michaud
Marie-Anne Viau



Founding member of the Société québécoise de phytotechnologie

Board member of the Canadian Botanical Conservation Network