The Cellular Bioenergetics Laboratory (LBC), attached to the Basic Research Division of the CEA*, has specialized for 30 years in the study of photosynthetic bacteria and their use in the field of bio-remediation.


* CEA: Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission


The diversity of bioenergetic pathways found in these organisms (photosynthesis and various modes of respiration) gives them the ability to adapt to toxic compounds. This “metabolic versatility” fosters survival in difficult conditions, and is complemented by a range of enzymes (including oxidoreductases) that enable them to metabolize pollutants or convert them into harmless compounds. The work conducted by the LBC in recent years has focused on these molecular mechanisms that lead to the degradation of organic compounds.


In particular, a process for degrading tributyl phosphate (a stubborn compound derived from the nuclear industry) by photosynthetic bacteria has been patented. More recently, the LBC has focused, in collaboration with an industrial pioneer (the Barre Company), on the “in situ” degradation of phytopharmaceutical compounds by these bacteria. Their extremely positive results are the foundation of this project.


The expertise of the LBC in the field is internationally recognized. Two researchers from the LBC, including the project coordinator Daniel Garcia, were thus named as experts in depollution by the AREVA-NC company, in 2011 and 2012. The head of the laboratory was named as senior expert by the high commissioner of the CEA in the field of environmental microbiology.


Centre CEA de Cadarache
13108 Saint Paul Lez Durance cedex France



Tel : + 33 (0) 4 42 25 45 89 –  Cell: + 33 (0) 6 08 60 76 69 – Fax : + 33 (0) 4 42 25 47 01





  • Peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Jacques J., Fourmond V., Arnoux P., Sabaty M., Emilien E., Grosse S., Biaso F., Bertrand P., Pignol D., Léger C., Guigliarelli B., Burlat B. (2013) “Reductive activation in periplasmic nitrate reductase involves chemical modifications of the Mo-cofactor beyond the first coordination sphere of the Mo ion” Biophys. Acta, 1837 (2): 277-286
  • Berne C., Pignol D., Lavergne J. & Garcia D. (2007) “cytochrome P450 CYP201A2 from Rhodopseudomonas palustris plays a key role in the tributyl phosphate biodegradation” Microbiol. Biotechno, 77(1): 135-44
  • Berne C.; Allainmat B.; Garcia D. (2005) “Tributyl phosphate degradation by Rhodopseudomonas palustris and other photosynthetic bacteria” Biotechnology Letters, 27 (8): 561-566
  • Popular science articles
  • Garcia D & Pignol D (2012) Biofutur “Des micro-organismes domestiqués pour dépolluer”
  • Garcia D & Pignol D (2012) Biofutur “Exemple d’un procédé biotechnologique de traitement des effluents phytosanitaires”



A process for degradation of TBP by a photosynthetic bacterial strain (Ref.: BD1490 – WO 2004/101449)