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Lori A Hoagland

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

  • Associate Professor of Horticulture
Horticulture Room 314

 General Information

Area of Expertise: Agroecology and Soil Microbial Ecology


  • 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)
  • Food Security and Sustainability in Colombia (Maymester 2020)

Research program: 

The long-term goal of our lab is to support the continued growth and sustainability of local specialty crop (e.g. vegetables, herbs, fruit) production systems by identifying practical approaches to increase the productivity, quality and safety of produce, while ensuring that these systems more efficiently utilize nutrients and are more resilient to biotic and abiotic stress. Diversifying agricultural production systems in the U.S. Midwest with specialty crops  and integrating specialty crop production into urban centers can provide new sources of income, improve human health and well-being, and bring broad environmental benefits.  To effectively provide these benefits however, specialty crop growers need to deal with soils that are degraded and/or contaminated with pollutants, keep up with pest populations that are constantly evolving to overcome current forms of resistance, and adapt to changing climates such as heavier spring rains and prolounged periods drought. Speciatly crop growers also need varieties that are best adapted to their local production and environmental constraints, and produced food that is unique, nutritious and has exceptional flavor to be competitive in local marketplaces. 

In an effort to help specialty crop growers overcome these challenges,we study soil microbial ecology and beneficial plant-microbial relationships. The soil microbial community regulates many key agroecosystems services including nutrient cycling, pathogen dynamics and pollutant detoxification. Moreover, some soil microbes can form intimate associations with plants, helping them acquire nutrients and withstand biotic and abiotic stress. New genomic tools developed in the last decade 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 mechanistically interact with plants to improve their health and performance is in its infancy. To overcome these knowledge gaps while ensuring that our research is relevant to the needs of growers, we combine applied studies designed to address key production challenges with fundamental research aimed at elucidating mechanisms regulating beneficial plant-soil-microbial relationships. We employ a participatory research approach that engages growers in identification of the most pertinent production challenges, along with development and dissemination of practical solutions using on-farm trials. Our studies integrate concepts of ecology to redesign specialty crop productions systems that are more efficient and resilient, and make use of local resources whenever possible to ensure that the management practices we develop are practical and economically feasible. Some of our studies are conducted in collaboration with vegetable breeders to identify germplasm that can best support beneficial plant-soil-microbial relationships, and identify practical approaches to integrate selection for these beneficial relationships into breeding programs. At the same time, we are contributing to the development of new improved vegetable varieties that are better adapted to low-input farming systems, and have unique end-use quality characteristics demanded by consumers.

Current projects in our lab are focused on:

  • Reducing heavy metal uptake in fruit and vegetable crops
  • Identifying biological approaches to reduce the severity of soil-borne and foliar pathogens in vegetable and mint cropping systems
  • Improving nitrogen-use efficiency in vegetable production systems
  • Developing new, improved tomato and carrot varieties that are best adapted to low-input farming systems, and yield produce that is nutritious and has good flavor
Additional insights out our research program can be found on the Hoagland Lab Website: www.purdue.edu/hla/sites/hoaglandlab/

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

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