Soils, Plants, and Consumers


The relationship between plants and human health is governed by many factors including plant genetics, environment, and production/processing steps, as well as consumer genetics, diet, and cultural practices. There is a dearth of interdisciplinary studies on the interactions of these factors. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is an under-developed pipeline of researchers to approach the topic of plants and human health in a comprehensive manner. The Soils, Plants, and Consumers Network (SPCN) addresses this need and brings together innovative researchers with combined expertise in food science, sensory science, plant science, soil science, ethnobotany, metabolomics, and toxicology. The SPCN has ongoing collaborative research projects on food and medicinal plants including cacao, cloves, tea, grapes, hops, American ginseng, and goldenseal. The goal of the SPCN is to apply a novel systems-based approach to study the relationship between plants and consumers in order to support agriculture and improve public health, and to train next generation of scientists to lead this area of research.


  1. To generate new knowledge on the relationship between plants and human health and the key factors that mediate this relationship.
  2. To develop an interdisciplinary approach to train the next generation of scientists to explore the relationship between soils, plants, and consumers in holistic, systems-based approach.
  3. To support growers and processors of food and medicinal plants by providing high-quality scientific data on the factors that govern plant productivity and quality.

For More Information:

Joshua D. Lambert, PhD
Professor of Food Science

Office for Research and Graduate Education


217 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802-2600