Dr. Leonard Herr's research interested centered on soil-born plant microbiology, biological control of soil-borne plant pathogens, and integrated disease control, with a focus on sugar beet, tobacco and lettuce. He developed a triple-layer agar medium for the selective isolation of antagonistic actinomycetes, and soil-dilution procedures to assay rhizosphere microorganisms. He studied Rhizoctonia crown rot of sugarbeets., including Rhizoctonia solani strain identification by pathogenicity/virulence profiles and anastomosis grouping.
Her also cooperated with Patrick Lipps in researching and reporting, for the first time, the occurrence of Rhizoctonia cerealis causing shart eye spot of wheat in North America, and Alternaria helianthi (leaf and stem blight of sunflower) in the United States. Herr also cooperated with Paul Sutton in the Department of Agronomy on the management of tobacoo diseases, particularly Phytophthora black shank and blue mold.
Herr, a Wayne County native, attended Antioch College and transferred to Ohio State, where he earned his BS (1952), MS (1953) and PhD (1956). He did his doctoral research in Wooster, and after completing his Ph.D., was hired as an instructor in the department at the Ohio Agricultural and Experiment Station (OAES). He was promoted through the faculty ranks and retired in 1991.