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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Plant cell wall and polymers (PVPP)

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            Context and objectives - Research lines - Methods and Equipment - Programs and Partners - Publications

Permanent team members:

Researchers and engineers: Johnny Beaugrand,  Estelle Bonnin, Anne-Laure Chateigner-Boutin, Marie-Françoise Devaux, Mathilde Francin-Allami, Audrey Geairon, Marc Lahaye, Fabienne Guillon, Marie-Christine Ralet-Renard, Luc Saulnier, Richard Sibout

Technicians and assistant engineers: Camille Alvarado, Axelle Bouder, Sylviane Daniel, Sylvie DurandLaurent Helary

Temporary staff members:

phD students:     MingRui Chen, Maxime Gautreau, Emmanuelle Richely, Marie Berger

Alumni:  Allah Rakha, Yves Verhertbruggen, Mehdi Cherkaoui , Kévin Vidot, Maud Joseph-Aime, Fan Li, Thang Le


Context and objectives

Plant cell walls are the source of variability in the behavior of plants and their products in food and non-food uses of plants. The characterization of the architecture of the wall team aims and mechanisms of its assembly in order to understand and modulate the properties. Research is focused on the role of polysaccharides in the wall, and combines different approaches:

  • Characterization of walls: from the molecular level to the level of the tissue or organ, incorporating aspects of spatial heterogeneity and temporal evolution of the walls during different physiological stages
  • The search for candidate genes for proteins involved in the biosynthesis and remodeling of wall polysaccharides
  • The development of model systems to establish links between the structure of polymers and the physicochemical and mechanical properties of walls and degradability.

The prospects of this research are applied to improve the quality and use of crops, such as fruit texture and biodegradation of agricultural co-products, but also to better manage the impact of walls as dietary fiber food.

Paroi cellulaires des plantes


Research lines

The team activities are grouped around four axes highly interconnected:

  • Biosynthesis and organization of the wall
  • Models-biomimetic systems wall
  • Enzymatic degradation of polysaccharides
  • Impact of walls on the performance characteristics of plants

A special effort is made ​​to integrate the data obtained at different scales (histology, mechanical, chemical and structural information) in models explaining the end-use properties such as texture of the fruit or enzymatic degradation.

The research is based on a few plants of interest (tomatoes and apples, wheat grain) and plants "models" (Arabidopsis and Brachypodium). In relation to the degradation of lignocellulosic plant material and the development of renewable resources, corn stalks, sorghum and Myscanthus are also studied.


Etudes à différentes échelles


Methods and Equipment

  • Biochemical techniques (purification of oligosaccharides, polysaccharides and enzymes)
  • Analytical and preparative chromatographic techniques (GPC-MALLS HPSEC, HPAEC ...)
  • Techniques of molecular and cellular biology
  • Mass spectrometry (ESI-IT MS, ESI-Q-TOF MS, MALDI-TOF MS)
  • Imaging walls in plant products (macroscopic, microscopic, immunohistochemistry)
  • RMN (liquid, solid, relaxometry)
  • Micro-infrared spectroscopy
  • Micromechanics


Programs and Partners

DEMETER is a European FACCE-JPI-Surplus program dedicated to make the most of side-products from market garden productions. Among the various tasks involved in the program led by the Belgian company Verdyun, INRAE-BIA is involved in the characterization of pomaces from juice processing of fruit and market garden side-products. Our goal is to develop new uses of pomaces following minimal processing steps to produce new ingredients that promote the development of texture or enrich prototype juices/soups in beneficial nutritional characteristics. These prototypes will be produced and characterized by the other INRAE team involved in the project: SQPOV in Avignon. The following text presents a broader aspect of the program.


Fruits, Cereals, Polysaccharides, Enzymes, Cell wall, Biosynthesis, Biotransformation, Biomechanics, Texture, Fiber