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Mixed biofilm of Lactococcus lactis and Listeria monocytogenes observed in scanning electron microscope. © inra, Thierry MEYLHEUC

1) Objectives and challenges of the MEM metaprogramme

Updated on 06/30/2017
Published on 01/19/2013

The aims of the MEM metaprogramme are to study, characterise, model and estimate the genetic diversity of microbial ecosystems that are still little understood, so that their functioning can be predicted, controlled or modified.  The scope of this programme includes: agrosystems (agricultural or forest soils, rhizosphere, phyllosphere, aquatic environments, etc.), digesters (human intestinal microbiota, animal digestive tracts, agri-industrial or pollution control systems, etc.), food ecosystems (foods and their microflora: dairy or meat products, fish, wine, etc.) and ecosystems related to health (environmental pathosystems and pathospheres such as those of air/aerosols, hosts-vectors-pathogenic agents, etc.).

Scientific context

Micro-organisms make up around 50% of biomass in the entire biosphere and constitute major agronomic challenges in the following areas:

  • agricultural and livestock systems,
  • global climate change,
  • human and animal health,
  • food and nutrition,
  • the production of renewable energies and synthons, pollution control, waste treatment.

The development of very high-throughput sequencing techniques and of new methodological processes now enable the characterisation of micro-organisms that cannot be cultivated in the laboratory.  It has thus become possible to study the global genetic content of a complex ecosystem.  This is the objective of meta-omic approaches.


General objectives of the metaprogramme

  1. Creating a multidisciplinary scientific community
  2. Contributing to the development of research pipelines and analytical methods
  3. Gradually moving beyond purely descriptive approaches to fully characterise, model, and control how ecosystems function
  4. Encourage and support multidisciplinary/integrated projects associated with MEM's thematic groups
  5. Enhancing the international visibility of MEM's main areas of research


Scope (Ecosystems and Divisions)

Perimetre of the MEM metaprogramme. © INRA
Perimetre of the MEM metaprogramme © INRA


Short presentation of MEM metaprogramme (4 pages)

Read online (or download below) the PDF file:

Metaprogramme MEM 2016-2020 short version (EN


See also : Strategic orientations of INRA through to 2025