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Chairholder Profile

Jacques Brisson

Jacques Brisson

Biological Sciences
Université de Montréal

Chair Title

NSERC / Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair in Phytotechnology

Chair Program

Industrial Research Chair for Colleges


Senior Chairholder since 2016


Inspired by natural ecosystem processes, phytotechnology consists of the use of plant cover designed to perform a specific function: decontaminate water and soils, restore degraded ecosystems, protect soil against erosion or invasive species, decrease energy loss from infrastructures, etc. Compared to other standard technological methods, phytotechnological approaches have lower impacts on the environment, can contribute significantly to biodiversity, require little or no energy, and show high public acceptance. The increasing use of phytotechnology presents new challenges for scientists, and improving efficiency requires understanding the various physical, chemical and biological processes that function at different scales.

The objective of the NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair in Phytotechnology is to optimize phytotechnological approaches to solve environmental problems related to the operation of power grid infrastructures that generate, transport and distribute electricity. The research program of the Chair will concentrate on two issues for which phytotechnological approaches are tailor-made: the restoration of disturbed soil that leads to erosion and the establishment of undesirable plant species; and the remediation of soils or water contaminated with wood pole preservatives.

To address these issues, the research program will conduct field and greenhouse experiments organized along three axes:

  1. the effect of plant diversity and interactions on the capacity of plant communities to provide ecological services in phytotechnology;
  2. plant-environment interactions in the context of phytotechnology; and
  3. the role of root exudates and soil mycorrhizas in relation to phytotechnological functions.

Phytotechnology has great potential for contributing innovative strategies to solve environmental problems generated by industrial processes and to satisfy the growing social need for technologies more respectful of the environment. The Chair research program will result in direct benefits for its industrial partner and other electric utilities in Canada, providing an economical and ecological alternative to the costly disposal of contaminated soil and reducing the need and frequency of vegetation management operations in powerline rights-of-way. The Chair will also deepen our understanding of fundamental ecological principles, thereby facilitating the transfer and adaptation of phytotechnologies to the numerous other contexts that could benefit from similar practices.


  • Hydro-Québec

Contact Information

Biological Sciences
Université de Montréal
Institut de recherche en biologie végétale
4101 east, Sherbrooke road
Montréal, Québec
H1X 2B2

Tel.: 514-343-2116
Fax: 514-343-2288

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