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Lori A Hoagland

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

  • Associate Professor of Horticulture
Horticulture Room 314

Area of Expertise: Microbial Ecology of Horticultural Systems


  • PhD, Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, Washington State University
  • MS, Agroecology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • BS, Environmental Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Currently teaching:
  • Introduction to Urban Agriculture (SFS/HORT31200; taught every fall)
  • The Plant Microbiome (HORT52500; taught in spring, even years)
  • Agricultural, Environmental and Community Sustainability in Costa Rica (Spring Break 2019)
  • Agroecology Field Course in Colombia (new study abroad course coming summer 2020)

Research program:

The long-term goal of my research program is to support the continued growth and sustainability of local specialty crop production (e.g. vegetables, herbs, fruit) in rural and urban ecosystems by identifying practical approaches to reduce input costs, increase the productivity, quality and safety of produce, and reduce negative impacts of production systems on the environment. Diversifying rural production systems with high-value specialty crops and integrating crop production in cities can increase farm income, improve food security and human health, and reinvigorate rural and urban communities. Crop integration and diversification can also bring broad environmental benefits, since synergies between multiple crops improve soil health and reduce the need for agroechemical inputs. Remediating degraded soils in urban cores can increase carbon sequestration, improve water infiltration and reduce the cities heat island effect. To optimize these systems, specialty crop growers must be able to effectively manage nutrients and pests while dealing with soil contamination, food borne pathogens and water stress. In addition, they need varieties that are adapted to local production constraints and have desirable end-use quality characteristics to satisfy customers shopping in local markets.

To address these challenges my lab studies soil microbial ecology and beneficial plant-microbial relationships in specialty crop production systems. The soil microbial community regulates many key agroecosystems services including nutrient cycling, biological control of pathogens, water storage and pollutant detoxification. Moreover, some microbes can form intimate associations with plants, helping them acquire nutrients and withstand biotic and abiotic stress. New genomic tools have greatly expanded awareness of the abundance and diversity of soil and plant microbiomes, but understanding of how individual taxa evolve and proliferate in soil systems and interact with plants to improve their health and performance is in its infancy. Consequently, we are still a long way from knowing how to effectively manage these microbial communities to optimize the beneficial agroecosystem services they can confer. To address these knowledge gaps while ensuring the relevance and potential application of our work, my lab employs a participatory research approach that engages growers in identification of the most pertinent production challenges, along with development and dissemination of practical solutions. 

Specific goals of our on-going projects include improving nitrogen-use efficiency, reducing diseases caused by soilborne and foliar pathogens, reducing heavy metal accumulation in edible crop tissues, alleviating water stress and improving the nutritional quality of produce. To accomplish these goals, we are determining how soil management practices such as application of locally available soil amendments, integration of cover crops and tillage, alter the composition and activity of soil and plant microbiomes and affect the health and quality of plants and their produce. We are also collaborating with plant breeders to determine if beneficial plant-microbial relationships can be enhanced by conducting breeding programs under organic farming systems where soil health is often greater. At the same time, we are developing new vegetable varieties that are more disease resistant, can avoid heavy metal uptake, and have improved nutritional quality and flavor. Details for two of our on-going projects can be found at the following websites:

Awards & Honors

(2015) Millionaire's Club Award. Purdue University.

(2011) Millionaires Club Award. Purdue University.

(2015) Acorn Seed of Excellence Award. Purdue University.

(2011) International Travel Grant Award. Agriculture Research Program, Purdue University.

(2011) Acorn Seed of Excellence Award. Purdue University.

Selected Publications

Hoagland, L., Ximenses, E., Ku, S., & Ladisch, M. (2018). Foodborne pathogens in horticultural production systems: ecology and mitigation. Scientia Horticulturae, 236, 192-206.

Colla, G., Hoagland, L., Ruzzi, M., Cardarelli, M., Bonini, P., Canaguier, R., & Rouphael, Y. (2017). Biostimulant Action of Protein Hydrolysates: Unraveling Their Effects on Plant Physiology and Microbiome. Frontiers in Plant Science, 22, 1-14. doi:doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.02202

Ximenes, E. A., Hoagland, L. A., Ku, S., & Ladisch, M. R. (2017). Human pathogens in biofilms: formation, physiology and detection. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. doi:10.1002/bit.26247

Simon, P., Navazio, J., Colley, M., Hoagland, L. A., Roberts, P., DuToit, L., . . . McCluskey, C. (2017). The CIOA Project: Location, cropping system, and genetic background influence carrot performance including top height and flavor. Acta Horticulturacea. doi:https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1153.1

Reeve, J., Hoagland, L. A., Villalba, J., Carr, P., Attucha, A., Cambardella, C., . . . Davis (2016). Organic farming, soil health, and food quality: Considering possible linkages. Advances in Agronomy, 137, 1-49.

Rudisill, M., Turco, R. F., & Hoagland, L. A. (2016). Rhizosphere effects and fertility management influence nitrification and ammonia oxidizers in intensively managed vegetable production systems. Applied Soil Ecology, 99, 70-77.

Shoaf, N., Egel, D. S., & Hoagland, L. A. (2016). Suppression of Phytophthora blight in sweet pepper depends on biochar amendment and soil type. Hortscience, 51(5), 518-524.

Hallett, S. G., Hoagland, L. A., & Toner, E. (2016). Urban agriculture: environmental, economic and social perspectives. Horticulture Reviews, 44, 65-109.

Hoagland, L. A. (2015). Breeding for beneficial plant-microbial relationships: how do we get there? Eucarpia Workshop On Implementing Plant-Microbe interaction in Plant Breeding,, 23-24.

Rudisill, M., Turco, R. F., & Hoagland, L. A. (2015). Sustaining soil quality in intensively managed high tunnel vegetable production systems; a role for green manures and chicken litter. Hortscience, 50(3), 461-468.

Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, 625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010 USA, (765) 494-1300

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