Andrew J. Margenot

Assistant Professor

Dr. Margenot addresses the literal foundation of all cropping systems: soils. He advances 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


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

Academic Positions

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

Research Interests

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

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research

  • US Borlaug Fellow in Global Food Security

Chapters in Books

  • 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.
  • 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.

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Wade, J., Maltais-Landry, G., Lucas, D.E. Bongiorno, G., Bowles, T.M., Calderón, F.J., Culman, S., Daughtridge, R., Ernakovich, J.G., Fonte, F., Giang, D., Herman, B.L., Guan, L., Jastrow, J., Loh, B.H.H., Kelly, C., Mann, M.E., Matamala, R., Miernicki, E.A., Peterson, B., Pulleman, M., Scow, K.M., Snapp, S, Thomas, V., Tu, X., Wang, D., Jelinski, N.A., Liles, G.C., Barrios-Masias, F., Rippner, D.A., Silveira, M., Margenot, A.J. 2020. Assessing the sensitivity and repeatability of permanganate oxidizable carbon as a soil health metric: an interlab comparison across soils. Geoderma. 366, 114235.
  • Deiss, L., Margenot, A.J., Culman, S.W., Demyan, M.S. 2020. Tuning support vector machines regression models improves prediction accuracy of soil properties using MIR spectroscopy. Geoderma. 365: 114227.
  • Fan, M., Lal, R., Zhang, H., Margenot, A.J., Wu, J., Wu, P., Zhang, L., Yao, J., Cheng, F., Gao, C. 2020. Variability and determinants of soil organic matter in an intensive agricultural region, eastern China. Soil and Tillage Research. 198: 104544.
  • Margenot, A.J., O’Neill, T., Sommer, R., Akella, V. 2020. Predicting soil permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC) by coupling DRIFT spectroscopy and artificial neural networks (ANN). Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 168: 105098.
  • Gu, C., Wilson, S., Margenot, A.J. 2020. Parent material determines the degree of climatic influences on soil biological P cycling. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 141: 107633.
  • Deiss, L., Margenot, A.J., Culman, S.W., Demyan, M.S. 2019. Optimizing acquisition parameters in diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy of soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal. In press.  
  • Margenot, A.J., Kitt, D., Gramig, B.M., Berkshire, T., Chatterjee, N., Hertzberger, A., Aguiar, S., Furneaux, A., Sharma, N., Cusick, R. 2019. Toward a regional phosphorus (re)cycle in the U.S. Midwest. Journal of Environmental Quality. 48(5):1397-1413.
  • Jesse, S.D., Zhang, Y., Margenot, A.J., Davidson, P.C. 2019. Hydroponic lettuce production using treated post-hydrothermal liquefaction wastewater (PHW). Sustainability. 11(13): 3605.
  • Trimmer, J.T., Margenot, A.J., Cusick, R.D., Guest, J.S. 2019. Aligning product chemistry and soil context for agronomic reuse of human-derived resources. Environmental Science and Technology. 53(11):6501-6510.
  • 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.
  • 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.  
  • 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., 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., 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., 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., 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., 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., 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., 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., Hodson, A. 2016. Relationships between labile soil organic matter and nematode communities in a natural landscape. Nematology 18(10):1231-1245.
  • 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.
  • 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., 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.