Prof. Philippe THONART

Professor at Gembloux AgroBiotech and Université de Liège, Belgium

Short Biography:

Gembloux AgroBiotech : courses for Bachelor in bioengineering, Master in Chemistry and Bio-industries, Master in Agriculture and Bio-industries, Advanced Master in Environmental Management in developing countries and Advanced Master in Biotechnology and Applied Biology.

University of Liege : courses for Master in Biochemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology and Advanced Master in Biotechnology and Applied Biology.

Director of the CWBI (Centre Wallon de Biologie Industrielle – Walloon Centre for Industrial Biology), which stands jointly at University of Liège, Belgium, and at Gembloux AgroBiotech, Belgium. The centre’s facilities and its staff’s know-how combine to study, develop and industrialise all the steps involved in producing  and using microorganisms, plant cells, and their subcellular fractions, namely, culturing, fermentation, purification, filtration, centrifugation, drying, lyophilisation, analysis, computer regulation and process control software, spray drying, encapsulation, etc.

Theoretical investigations and fundamental and applied research are carried out constantly, often in conjunction with international partners.

Supervisor of 293 national and international research programs and published 857 publications.


Selected publications:

  1. THONART Ph., BECHET J., HILGER F. and BURNY A. (1976) Thermosensitive Mutations Affecting RNA polymerase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Journal of Bacteriology, 125, 25-32.
  2. THONART Ph., CUSTINNE M. and PAQUOT M. (1982), Zeta Potential of Yeast Cells : Application in cell immobilization. Enzyme Microb. Technol. 4, 191-194.
  3. THONART Ph., SUMBU Z.L. and BECHET J. (1985), Patulin Degradation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae : Sensitive Mutants, Mycotoxin Research, 1, 37-40.
  4. JABRANE A., DESTAIN J., COMPERE P., LEDOUX  L., CALBERG-BACQ C-M. and  THONART Ph. (1994) A screening technique to isolate bacterial strains producing high molecular weight bacteriocins. Biotechnology techniques. 8, n°.10, p.751-754
  5. DESTAIN J., ROBLAIN D. and THONART Ph. (1997) Improvement of lipase production from Yarrowia lipolytica. Biotechnology Lett., 19, 105-107.
  6. BARE G., DIAKIESE A., ZGOULLI S., SABRI A., GERDAY C. and THONART Ph. (1999) Modification of the Thermoresistance to Spray-Drying of a Cold-Adapted Subtilisin by Genetic Engineering. Appl. Biochem. Biotech., 77-79, 857-865.
  7. ZGOULI S., GREK V., BARE G., GOFFINET G., THONART Ph. and ZINNER S. (1999) Microencapsulation of erythromycin and clarithromycin using a spray-drying technique. J. Microencapsul., 16 (5), p. 565-571.
  8. SABRI A., BARE G., JACQUES P., JABRANE A., ONGENA M., VAN HEUGEN J., DEVREESE B. and THONART Ph. (2001) Influence of moderate temperatures on myristoyl-CoA metabolism and acyl-coa thioesterase activity in the psychrophilic antarctic yeast Rhodotorula aurantiaca. Biol. Chem, 276, 12691-12696.
  9. ONGENA M., JOURDAN E., SCHÄFER M., KESH C., BUDZIKIEWICZ H., LUXEN A., AND THONART Ph. (2005) Isolation of a N-alkylated benzylamine derivative from Pseudomonas putida as elicitor of induced systemic resistance in bean. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, 18(6), 562-569.
  10. Rodriguez C., Hiligsmann S., Ongena M., Charlier R., and Thonart Ph. (2005) Development of an enzymatic assay for the determination of cellulose bioavailability in municipal solid waste. Biodegradation, 16, 415-422.
  11. BAYANE A.,  ROBLAIN D.,  DUBOIS DAUPHIN R., DESTAIN J., DIAWARA B.  and THONART Ph. (2006) Assessment of the physiological and biochemical characterization of a lactic acid bacterium isolated from chicken faeces in sahelian region. African Journal of biotechnology, 5(8), 629-634.
  12. DELVIGNE f., DESTAIN J. and THONART Ph. (2006) A methodology for the design of scale down bioreactors by the use of mixing and correlation stochatic models. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 28, 256-268.
  13. ONGENA M., JOURDAN E., AKRAM A., PAQUOT M., BRANS A., JORIS B., ARPIGNY J.L. and THONART Ph. (2007) Surfactin and fengycin lipopeptides of Bacillus subtilis as elicitors of induced systemic resistance in plants. Environmental Microbiology, 9, 1084-1090.
  14. Rabetafika H. N., Gigot C., Fauconnier M. L., Ongena M., Destain J., DUJardin P., Wathelet J. P. and Thonart Ph, (2008). Sugar beet leaves as new source of hydroperoxide lyase in a bioprocess producing green-note aldehydes. Biotechnol. Lett. 30(6), 1115-1119.
  15. ALDRIC J.M., GILLET S., DELVIGNE F., BLECKER C., LEBEAU F., WATHELET J.P., MANIGAT G. and THONART Ph. (2009) Effect of surfactants and biomass on the gas/liquid mass transfer in an aqueous-silicone oil two-phase partitioning bioreactor using Rhodococcus erythropolis T902.1 to remove VOCs from gaseous effluents. J. Chem. Tech. Biotech., 84, 1274-1283.
  16. YAO AMENAN A., WATHELET B. and THONART Ph. (2009) Effect of protective compounds on the survival, electrolyte leakage and lipid degradation of freeze-dried Weissella paramesenteroides LC11 during storage.
  17. J. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 19 (8), 810-817.
  18. HAMILTON C., HILIGSMANN S., BECKERS L., MASSET J., WILMOTTE A. and THONART Ph. (2010) Optimization of culture conditions for biological hydrogen production by Citrobacter freundii CWBI952 in batch, sequenced-batch and semi-continuous operating mode. International journal of hydrogen energy, 35, 1089-1098.
  19. Leroy, P, Wathelet, B, Sabri, A, Francis, F, Verheggen, F, Capella, Q, Thonart Ph., and Haubruge, E. (2011). Aphid-host plant interactions: Does aphid honeydew exactly reflect the host plant amino acid composition? Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 5, 1-7.
  20. Delvigne, F, Brognaux, A, Gorret, N, Neubauer, P, Delafosse, A, Collignon, M.-L, Toye, D, Crine, M, Boxus, M, and Thonart Ph. (2011). Characterization of the response of GFP microbial biosensors sensitive to substrate limitation in scale-down bioreactors. Biochemical Engineering Journal, 55(2), 131-139.
  21. FOMA R. K., DESTAIN J., MOBINZO P. K., KAYISU K. and THONART Ph. (2012) Study of physicochemical parameters and spontaneous fermentation during traditional production of munkoyo, an indigenous beverage produced in Democratic republic of Congo. Food Control, 25, 334-341.


Selected patents:


  1. GOSSELIN Y., THONART Ph., HUBERT J-B, GILSOUL J-J and Jeanfils J. Tank for processes requiring a supply of light. Belgian patent filed on May 8, 1990 (SA Yvan PAQUE).
  2. Mendy F., THONART Ph.. and DELACROIX D. Dietetic composition based on polypeptides and amino acids. French Patent No. 9000553 dated January 18, 1990. (Medgenix group S.A.)
  3. Mendy F., THONART Ph., L. DEBATY, and DELACROIX D. A method for producing a mixture of glycerides rich in gamma linolenic acid and stearidonic French Patent No. 8912980 dated 4 October 1989.
  4. ZGOULLI S., Delfosse P., THONART Ph. AND DELACROIX D. Gastroresistant microcapsule of oily liquid (Medgenix Group SA) European Patent No. 0462003 filed on 2/11/94. U.S. Patent No. 335,285 Canada Patent No. 335286 Japanese Patent No. 335287
  5. Mendy F., THONART Ph., DEBATY L., D. DELACROIX A method for producing a mixture of fatty acids enriched glycerides Medgenix group S.A. French Patent No. 89 12 980 4/10/1989
  6. BONNARDEL P., TAILLADE P., Roques C., THONART Ph., S. ZGOULLI and Roblain D. Stable biomass of yeast cells and lactic bacteria and the preparation process. (Lesaffre et Cie) European Patent Application No. 94401741.7-du 29/11/94
  7. ZGOULLI S., THONART Ph., HARMEGIES F., BONACHELLI B.and TIGEL R. Regenerable filtration support, its production and use (Meura S.A.) European Patent No. 98870069.6-2113 of 06/09/98
  8. THONART Ph., Jabrane A., DESTAIN J., PIERRARD A., DRION R., JACQUES P., LEPOIVRE P., Jijakli H. VALEPYN E., CHEGGOUR A., VERHEYDEN Cl, DECKERS T., VERMEIREN D and T. BEAUDRY Bacteriocin, its preparation and use International Patent No. PCT/BE00/00062 filed on 06/09/2000.
  9. JONNIAUX J.L., RAW K. THONART Ph. DAUVRIN T. Enzyme or cell preparation with inulinase activity. International patent (pending).
  10. VERHOEYE F., SCHNEIDER YJ., THONART Ph., BARE G SPYRIDON A. Cryopretective solutions. European Patent No. EP 1 181 865 A1 (Application No.: 00870182.3) published on 20.02.2002.
  11. DELEU, M., BRASSEUR , PAQUOT, M., Legros H., Dufour, R. S., Jacques, P., DESTAIN, J., THONART, Ph., BRANS, A., Joris, B., FRERE , J-M (2004) Novel use of lipopeptide preparations. European Patent No. W02004/002510 A1.
  12. DESTAIN J. FICKERS P., B. MOREAU, THONART Ph., WEEKERS F., MOLITOR JP, WEISS A. (2004) Verfahren Produktion von zur lipase. European patent introduced by Cognis Germany (No. 04010064.6)
  13. DE PAUW P., EL MEJDOUB T. and THONART Ph. (2009) Composition for the release and protection of instant dry yeasts. European Patent No. EP2028265 (A1)
  14. LEROY P., SABRI A., Heuskin S., THONART Ph., E. HAUBRUGE (2010). Attractant and ovipositional stimulant for natural enemies. European Patent Application (No. 10173718.7).