Research engineer at INRAE Rennes, France

The research engineer will carry out research in process engineering and chemical analysis with the dual aim of:

  1. Developing a reliable method for measuring the degradation of biodegradable plastics in real time,
  2. Gaining a better understanding of the biodegradation processes of biodegradable plastics under anaerobic digestion conditions.

The engineer will use pilot anaerobic digestion reactors, which are already in place but which he/she will have to optimise to enable at-line analyses throughout the anaerobic degradation process. These analyses will focus on low-field NMR measurements (in time domain) due to their non-destructive and non-invasive nature. This method will be validated using conventional techniques (in accordance with European standards) for measuring biodegradability, such as respirometric measurements (to measure biogas production) or other physico-chemical techniques such as thermogravimetric or FT-IR analyses.

In order to gain a better understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying this degradation, low-field NMR measurements will be supplemented by characterization of the metabolites produced. Various spectrometric methods will be used for this, including high-field NMR and mass spectrometry.

The proposal is part of a larger project funded by ANR (BioCyPlast ANR-21-CE43-0009) with the objectives of :

  • selecting commercial biodegradable materials and construction of tailor-made materials (with different formulations, structures, sizes, crystallinity, etc.) dedicated to the study of their degradation
  • experimental monitoring of their fate under controlled composting and anaerobic digestion conditions
  • the development of tools to monitor the mechanisms of colonisation and degradation of plastics up to the generation of micro- and nanoplastics
  • the integration of all these data into predictive modelling approaches to anticipate the ecological footprint of biodegradable plastics, from the design of materials to biowaste management systems.

The materials studied in this project are made from biosourced and biodegradable polymers. They are currently being evaluated to measure their degradation in soils, and in composting and anaerobic digestion conditions.

Posting date: May 2024

Length of contract: 24 months

Number of hours worked: 100%.

Gross monthly salary: €2,500 to €2,700 (depending on qualifications and experience)

Place of work: OPAALE unit, INRAE, 17 avenue de Cucillé, Rennes, France


Job offer :



Contacts :

Corinne Rondeau-Mouro


Patrick Dabert