Grass endophytes

Symbiotic associations between organisms are common in ecosystems, but mutual benefits may be conditional depending on the environment and the genotypes of interacting partners. The widespread associations of EpichloĆ« endophytes (ascomycete fungi) with grass hosts are used as a model system to address questions regarding the evolution of mutualism, host-symbiont dynamics and cryptic speciation of fungi. Currently, one of our research projects is focused on the significance of hybridizations in asexual endophytes of the woodland grass Hordelymus europaeus.


Recent Publications

  • Title: Assessing effects of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum on soil microbial communities in Agriotes spp. biological pest control 
    Author(s): Mayerhofer, Johanna; Eckard, Sonja; Hartmann, Martin; et al. 
    Source: FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY, 93 (10): OCT 2017 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Biology and evolution of the Epichloe-associated Botanophila species found in Europe (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) 
    Author(s): Leuchtmann, Adrian; Michelsen, Verner 
    Source: INSECT SYSTEMATICS & EVOLUTION, 47 (1): 1-14 2016 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: The effect of Piriformospora indica on the root development of maize (Zea mays L.) and remediation of petroleum contaminated soil 
    Author(s): Zamani, Javad; Hajabbasi, Mohammad Ali; Alaie, Ebrahim; et al. 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Multiplexed microsatellite markers for seven Metarhizium species 
    Author(s): Mayerhofer, Johanna; Lutz, Andy; Widmer, Franco; et al. 
    Source: JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY, 132: 132-134 NOV 2015 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
  • Title: Two distinct Epichloe species symbiotic with Achnatherum inebrians, drunken horse grass 
    Author(s): Chen, Li; Li, Xiuzhang; Li, Chunjie; et al. 
    Source: MYCOLOGIA, 107 (4): 863-873 JUL-AUG 2015 
    Document Type: Article (Details)
Leuchtmann Adrian

Prof. Dr. Adrian Leuchtmann
ETH Zurich
Institute of Integrative Biology
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 38 54

Research topics

  • Evolution of fungus/host systems
  • Hybridization and cryptic speciation
  • Interactions of fungi with gamete transferring flies



  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Ecology 
  • Evolution
  • Molecular genetics