Research and Impacts

As a land-grant university, the U of M is committed to conducting research to improve Minnesota’s agricultural and forest products, horticulture, human nutrition, family and community, and environmental quality.

MAES’s multidisciplinary research explores the ecological, economic, and environmental interactions between the agriculture that feeds the world, the environment that sustains the earth, and the human interactions that support our society.

Food and Agriculture

Advancement of agricultural research was the initial call-to-action when the Hatch Act was implemented in 1887. Today, researchers continue to search for key solutions to provide safe, healthy, and economically and environmentally sustainable food sources for a growing population.

Horticulture

Research is at the heart of advancing horticulture understanding to develop new varieties and opportunities for future generations. Our researchers work on projects involving horticultural plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers with the aim of expanding Minnesota’s horticulture industry.

Environment and Sustainability

As environmental concerns continue to create new challenges, University researchers are committed to finding solutions for everything from forest conservation to developing sustainable cropping systems to discovering alternative and renewable energy sources.

Social and Animal Welfare

As society has moved away from the rural areas and into cities, U of M researchers have been ideally placed to explore the societal, economic, and personal impacts. From affordable urban housing to food safety and animal health concerns, researchers are exploring today’s important welfare issues and discovering solutions.

MAES supports horticultural research for fruit, vegetables, and ornamental plants and turfgrasses. Research in these areas includes breeding new plant and crop varieties, exploring new management practices and technologies and studying pests and disease affecting the horticultural industry. Here we provide an overview of research highlights from fiscal year 2018. 

Jim Luby and his team have changed apple industry through the introduction of new apple varieties with unique textures and amazing flavor!  From Honeycrisp to Rave/First Kiss their creations have revived the apple industry in Minnesota and beyond. 

Tai Mendenhall and his team collaborated with healthcare providers in St. Paul to partner with American Indian community elders in the Twin Cities. Over several years, they designed and launched a University/Community partnership called the Family Education Diabetes Series (FEDS). FEDS purposively combines Western knowledge regarding disease processes and management with Native worldviews of the Medicine Wheel and "Walking in Balance."

Tonya Schoenfuss and her team have shown that the polymerization of lactose with an acid catalyst and glucose creates a soluble fiber, which they call polylactose. This novel dietary fiber can be easily ground and shows great promise as a prebiotic additive to human food products or as a supplement.