Andrew J. Margenot

Assistant Professor

Dr. Margenot addresses the literal foundation of all cropping systems: soils. He is advancing how we monitor and manage soils as natural capital. His research team evaluates how human activities can enhance or compromise soil services to human societies, with an emphasis on food security from urban and rural agroecosystems in the U.S. Midwest and East Africa.

Primary Disciplines


  • Ph.D. Soils and Biogeochemistry, University of California Davis, 2016
  • B.A. Philosophy; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Connecticut College, 2010

Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2017 - present
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California Davis, 2016 - 2017

Research Interests

  • Soil organic matter and enzymes
  • Phosphorus
  • Urban agriculture
  • Soil fertility in East Africa
  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research

  • US Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security

Chapters in Books

  • Margenot, A.J., Calderón, F.J., Goyne, K., Mukome, F.N.D., Parikh, S.J. 2016. Soil analysis, applications of IR and Raman spectroscopies. Ed. G. Tranter. Encyclopedia of Spectroscopy and Spectrometry, 3rd Ed. Elsevier, Ltd: Oxford, UK.
  • Margenot, A.J., Bal, L., Rao, L., R. Sommer, R. 2017. Phosphorus Fertilization and Management in Soils of Sub-Saharan Africa. Eds. Lal, R. and Stewart, B.A. Soil Phosphorus. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Parikh, S.J., Goyne, K., Margenot, A.J., Mukome, F.M.D., Calderón, F.J. 2014. Soil Chemical Insights Provided through Vibrational Spectroscopy. Advances in Agronomy 126:1-148.
  • Margenot, A.J., Calderón, F.J., Bowles, T.M., Parikh, S.J., Jackson, L.E. 2015. Soil organic matter functional group composition in relation to organic C, N, and P fractions in organically-managed tomato fields characterized by mid-infrared spectroscopy. Soil Science Society of American Journal 79:(3): 772-782.
  • Margenot, A.J., Calderón, F.J., Parikh, S.J. 2015. Limitations and potential of spectral subtractions in Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy of soil samples. Soil Science Society of America Journal 80(1):10-26.
  • Pincus, L., J. Six, J., Margenot, A.J., Scow, K. 2016. On-farm trial assessing combined organic and mineral fertilizer amendments on vegetable yields in central Uganda. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 225:62-71.
  • Margenot, A.J., Alldritt, K., Southard, S., O’Geen, T. 2016. Integrating soil science into primary school curricula: Students promote soil science education with Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal 80(4):831-838.
  • Margenot, A.J., Hodson, A. 2016. Relationships between labile soil organic matter and nematode communities in a natural landscape. Nematology 18(10):1231-1245.
  • Margenot, A.J., Paul, B., Sommer, R., Pulleman, M., Parikh, S.J., Jackson, L.E., Fonte, S. 2017. Can conservation agriculture improve P availability in weathered soils? Effects of tillage and residue management on soil P status after 9 years in a Kenyan Oxisol. Soil and Tillage Research 166:157-166.
  •  Margenot, A.J., Calderón, F.J., Magrini, K.A., Evans, R. 2017. Evaluating effects of soil science oxidation assays on SOM composition in a Mollic Xerofluvent. Applied Spectroscopy 71(7):1506-1518. 
  •  Margenot, A.J., Sommer, R., Mukalama, J., Parikh, S.J. 2017. Biological P cycling is influenced by the form of P fertilizer in an Oxisol. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 53(8):899-909
  • Margenot, A.J., Pulleman, M., Sommer, R., Paul, B., Parikh, S.J., Jackson, L.E., Fonte, S. 2017. Biochemical proxies indicate differences in soil C cycling induced by long-term tillage and residue management in a tropical agroecosystem. Plant and Soil. 420(1-2):315–329
  • Margenot, A.J., Griffin, D.E., Alves, B.S.Q., Rippner, D.A., Chongyang, L. Parikh, S.J. 2018. Softwood biochar can be a substitute for peat moss in soil-free substrates without negative impacts on marigold growth. Industrial Crops and Products. 120:160-169.
  •  Margenot, A.J., Nakayama, Y., Parikh, S.J. 2018. Methodological recommendations for improving assays of enzyme activities in soil samples. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. In press.
  • Margenot, A.J., Sommer, R., Parikh, S.J. 2018. Changes in soil phosphatase activities across a liming gradient under diverse long-term managements in subhumid Kenya. Soil Science Society of America Journal. Accepted. 
  • Margenot, A.J., Rippner, D.A., Dumlao, M.R., Nezami, S, Green, P.G., Silk, W.M., Parikh, S.J., McElrone, A.J. 2018. Copper oxide nanoparticle effects on germination, root growth and hydraulic conductivity of two food crop species. Plant and Soil. Accepted.
  • Margenot, A.J., Parikh, S.J., Calderón, F.J. 2019. Improving infrared spectroscopy characterization of soil organic matter by sample pre-treatments and spectral subtractions. Journal of Visual Experiments.143, e57464, doi:10.3791/57464.  
  • Jackson, L.E., Bowles, T.M., Ferris, H., Margenot, A.J., Hollander A., Garcia-Palacios. P., Daufresne, T., Sanchez-Moreno, S. 2019. Plant and soil microfaunal biodiversity across the borders between arable and forest ecosystems in a Mediterranean landscape. Applied Soil Ecology. Available online.