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 Epichloë 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

  • A king amongst dwarfs: Boletus edulis forms ectomycorrhiza with dwarf willow in the Swiss Alps
    Treindl A, Leuchtmann A.
    Alpine Botany 10.1007/s00035-019-00218-2 2019
  • Large Scale Screening of Epichloë Endophytes Infecting Schedonorus pratensis and Other Forage Grasses Reveals a Relation Between Microsatellite-Based Haplotypes and Loline Alkaloid Levels
    Giovanni Cagnano, Niels Roulund, Christian Sig Jensen, Flavia Pilar Forte, Torben Asp and Adrian Leuchtmann
    Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10, pp. 765, Lausanne: Frontiers Research Foundation, 10.3389/fpls.2019.00765 2019.
  • Truffles on the move
    Ulf Büntgen, Helm Lendorff, Andreas Lendorff, Adrian Leuchtmann, Martina Peter, Istvan Bagi and Simon Egli
    Frontiers in ecology and the environment, vol. 17: no. 4, pp. 200-202, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley,  10.1002/fee.2033 2019.
  • Response of soil microbial communities to the application of a formulated Metarhizium brunneum biocontrol strain
    Mayerhofer, Johanna; Rauch, Hannes; Hartmann, Martin; et al.
    BIOCONTROL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY   Volume: 29   Issue: 6   Pages: 547-564 10.1080/09583157.2019.1566953 JUN 3 2019
  • Botanophila flies, vectors of Epichloë fungal spores, are infected by Wolbachia
    Lydia Pagel, Thomas L. Bultman, Karolina Górzyńska, Marlena Lembicz, Adrian Leuchtmann, Anne Sangliana and Nicola Richards
    Mycology, vol. 10: no. 1, pp. 1-5, London: Taylor & Francis, 2019.
  • Genomewide signatures of selection in Epichloe reveal candidate genes for host specialization
    Schirrmann, Melanie K; Zoller, Stefan; Croll, Daniel; Stukenbrock, EH; Leuchtmann, A; Fior, S
    MOLECULAR ECOLOGY   Volume: 27   Issue: 15   Pages: 3070-3086 10.1111/mec.14585 AUG 2018
  • Assessing effects of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum on soil microbial communities in Agriotes spp. biological pest control 
    Mayerhofer, Johanna; Eckard, Sonja; Hartmann, Martin; et al. 
    FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY, 93 (10): OCT 2017 (Details)
  • Biology and evolution of the Epichloe-associated Botanophila species found in Europe (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) 
    Leuchtmann, Adrian; Michelsen, Verner 
    INSECT SYSTEMATICS & EVOLUTION, 47 (1): 1-14 2016 (Details)
  • The effect of Piriformospora indica on the root development of maize (Zea mays L.) and remediation of petroleum contaminated soil 
    Zamani, Javad; Hajabbasi, Mohammad Ali; Alaie, Ebrahim; et al. 
    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHYTOREMEDIATION, 18 (3): 278-287 2016  (Details)
  • Multiplexed microsatellite markers for seven Metarhizium species 
    Mayerhofer, Johanna; Lutz, Andy; Widmer, Franco; et al. 
    JOURNAL OF INVERTEBRATE PATHOLOGY, 132: 132-134 NOV 2015 (Details)
  • Two distinct Epichloe species symbiotic with Achnatherum inebrians, drunken horse grass 
    Chen, Li; Li, Xiuzhang; Li, Chunjie; et al. 
    MYCOLOGIA, 107 (4): 863-873 JUL-AUG 2015 (Details)
Adrian Leuchtmann ETH Zurich

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