Benoit Pallas

Benoit Pallas

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2013

Receiving laboratory: Centre for Plant Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Australia

Country of origin : France




Mobility project

Modelling floral induction for different apple tree cultivars: an innovative approach to disentangle the intertwined effects of hormonal signals, carbohydrate status and plant architecture

Flowering in apple is the main process that determines yield and a negative relationship between fruit development and floral induction that can lead to biennial bearing in apple has been observed. In this species, both the competition for carbohydrates between developing reproductive and vegetative organs and hormonal signals coming from seeds are suspected to inhibit floral induction.

In this project, I aim at complementing the existing functional structural apple tree model MappleT by simulating the transport of both carbohydrates and hormones within a network of organs mixing sources (leaves and seeds producing carbohydrates and hormones respectively) and target organs (terminal meristem) in which flower induction will occur. I expect from such an approach, to test different assumptions regarding the respective impact of hormonal control, nutritional status and tree architecture on floral induction. This approach will include development of a framework for modelling the genetic network regulation involved in floral induction, allowing future knowledge on floral induction regulation to be easily incorporated.

Modelling complex tree architectures and intertwined physiological processes requires specific computational methods and mathematical formalisms that are developed in laboratories specialized in computer sciences. Joining the Biological Information Technology team at the University of QueensLand will provide me a unique opportunity to develop this modelling approach on floral induction and to acquire new skills in computational science in order to complement my skills in ecophysiology and plant modelling. The University of Queensland has also a strong expertise in plant physiology especially on hormonal signaling that could be particularly relevant for my research project.


Moving to the Biological Information team at the University of Queensland will allow me to acquire new skills in computer science in order to complement my skills in ecophysiology, plant physiology and plant modelling. The long term stay in Australia will be a unique opportunity for me to integrate the international plant modelling community and may also facilitate future international cooperation with other research groups

Biography & research interests

I am a plant scientist. I have obtained my master of agricultural Science in 2007 at Montpellier Sup Agro Agricultural School of Montpellier. During master I acquired skills on plant growth and development, management of experiments under controlled conditions, and experimental data analysis. I have defended my PhD entitled “Dynamic modelling of plant-environment interactions. Applications to the study of the interactions between source-sink relationships and grapevine development” in 2009 at the University of Montpellier. My research was, carried out in the laboratory of applied mathematics of Ecole Centrale de Paris (MAS laboratory, supervisor: Pr. PH Cournède) for modelling part and in the laboratory of ecophysiology of plants under environmental stresses of INRA (UMR LEPSE, supervisor: Pr. J. Lecoeur) for the plant science part. After my doctoral sfudies from 2009 to 2013,  I became assistant lecturer in ecophysiology and plant modelling at Montpellier Supagro and got the opportunity to develop research activities in collaboration with research groups of CIRAD on modelling the phenotypic plasticity of oil Palm.

Then I was recruited as junior scientist in INRA Functional structural modelling of apple tree growth and architecture, in the research unit “Genetic improvement and adaptation of Mediterranean and tropical plants” and my research topics is the development of new modelling approaches to simulate genotype x environment in apple tree.

Selected publications

Pallas B, Clément-Vidal A, Rebolledo MC, Soulié JC, Luquet D. 2013. Using plant growth modelling to analyze C source-sink relations under drought: inter and intra specific comparison. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: 437.

Pallas B, Mialet-Serra I, Rouan L, Clément-Vidal A, Caliman JP, Dingkuhn M. 2013. Effect of trophic competition on yield components, growth dynamics and structure of bunches in oil-palm (Elaeis guineensis). Tree Physiology 33: 409-424.

Pallas B, Loi C, Christophe A, Cournède PH, Lecoeur J. 2011. Comparison of three approaches model grapevine organogenesis in conditions of fluctuating temperature, solar radiation and soil water content. Annals of Botany 107: 729-745.

Pallas B, Louarn G, Christophe A, Lebon E, Lecoeur J. 2008. Influence of intra-shoot trophic competition on shoot development of two grapevine cultivars (Vitis vinifera L.). Physiologia Plantarum 134: 49-63.