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Robert E Pruitt

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor
Lilly Hall Room B476

Department of Food Sciences 

  • Courtesy Professor of Food Sciences

Dr. Bob Pruitt’s research is presently focused on two areas that use basic science techniques to address applied problems. The first involves studying the nature of bacterial interactions with plants, with a particular focus on human pathogens that contaminate fresh produce. The goals of this research are to understand how pathogenic bacteria are introduced into the plant system and what bacterial, plant and environmental factors allow them to survive and proliferate. Experiments utilize techniques ranging from traditional microbiology and genetics to modern sequencing methods to examine the microbial communities associated with commercial produce. The second area is to try and develop a modern plant molecular genetic/genomic system to apply to the study of weed science. Availability of a genome sequence together with a comprehensive set of molecular markers would greatly simplify the study of the natural and selected variation in weed traits that affect weed life history as well as those that impact agriculture.


Pruitt, R. E. (2003). A novel method for site-directed modification of endogenous target genes. U.S. Patent No. pending. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Selected Publications

Deering, A., Pruitt, R. E., Mauer, L. J., & Reuhs, B. L. (2012). Examination of the Internalization of Salmonella serovar Typhimurium in Peanut, Arachis hypogaea, using Immunocytochemical Techniques. Food Research International, 45, 1037-1043. Retrieved from

Deering, A. J., Mauer, L. J., & Pruitt, R. E. (2012). Internalization of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella spp. in plants: A review. Food Research International, 45, 567-575. Retrieved from

Deering, A. J., Pruitt, R. E., Mauer, L. J., & Reuhs, B. L. (2011). Identification of the Cellular Location of Internalized Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Mung Bean, Vigna radiata, by Immunocytochemical Techniques. Journal of Food Protection, 74(8), 1224-1230.

Deering, A. J., Nail, S., Wee, B. S., & Pruitt, R. E. (2008). Addressing photosynthesis using a plant physiology experiment at the middle school: Perspectives from a visiting scientist.. The Hoosier Science Teacher, 34.

Pruitt, R. E. (2005). Swiss National Science Foundation.

Pruitt, R. E. (2005). Role of the extracellular matrix in regulating epidermal cell interactions. 13th New Phytologist Symposium.

Pruitt, R. E. (2005). Novel patterns of inheritance in hothead mutants of Arabidopsis. Botanical Institute Seminar.

Lolle, S. J., Victor, J. L., Young, J. M., & Pruitt, R. E. (2005). Genome-wide non-Mendelian inheritance of extra-genomic information in Arabidopsis. Nature.

Pruitt, R. E. (2004). Mutations in HOTHEAD reveal epigenetic inheritance of DNA sequence information in Arabidopsis.

Lolle, S. J., Victor, J. L., & Pruitt, R. E. (2004). Mutations in HOTHEAD Reveal Epigenetic Inheritance of DNA Sequence Information in Arabidopsis. 69th Cold Spring Harbor Symposium: Epigenetics.