Plant pathology

Monika Maurhofer is the leader of a research group with interest in elucidating the multitrophic interactions going on in the hotspot rhizosphere with a focus on physical and molecular interactions between plants, plant pathogenic fungi, plant beneficial pseudomonads and insect pests. Her research is aims at improving the use of microorganisms for the control of plant diseases and insect pests.

Her group is part of the plant pathology group which is headed by Prof. Bruce McDonald and located in the Institute of Integrative Biology. Monika Maurhofer is also involved in teaching and gives lectures in systematics and ecology of fungi and algae for first year ETHZ biology and pharmacy students and offers a block course in plant pathology for third year ETHZ and UniZH biology students.


Recent Publications

  • Transcriptome plasticity underlying plant root colonization and insect invasion by Pseudomonas protegens
    Vesga, Pilar; Flury, Pascale; Vacheron, Jordan; Keel, Christoph; Croll, Daniel; Maurhofer M
    Isme Journal  DOI: 10.1038/s41396-020-0729-9    NOV 2020
  • Draft Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas sp. Strain LD120, Isolated from the Marine Alga Saccharina latissima
    Heiman, Clara Margot; Wiese, Jutta; Kupferschmied, Peter; et al.
    MICROBIOLOGY RESOURCE ANNOUNCEMENTS ‏ e01305-19    DOI: 10.1128/MRA.01305-19  ‏ FEB 2020
  • Updated Genome Sequence and Annotation for the Full Genome of Pseudomonas protegens CHA0
    Smits, Theo H. M.; Rezzonico, Fabio; Frasson, David; et al.
    MICROBIOLOGY RESOURCE ANNOUNCEMENTS  Article Number: e01002-19    DOI: 10.1128/MRA.01002-19  ‏ SEP 2019
  • T6SS contributes to gut microbiome invasion and killing of an herbivorous pest insect by plant-beneficial Pseudomonas protegens
    Vacheron, J; Pechy-Tarr, M; Brochet, S; Heiman, CM; Stojiljkovic, M; Maurhofer, M; Keel, C
    ISME JOURNAL, 13 (5):1318-1329; 10.1038/s41396-019-0353-8 MAY 2019
  • Persistence of root-colonizing Pseudomonas protegens in herbivorous insects throughout different developmental stages and dispersal to new host plants
    Flury, P; Vesga, P; Dominguez-Ferreras, A; Tinguely, C; Ullrich, CI; Kleespies, RG; Keel, C; Maurhofer, M
    ISME JOURNAL, 13 (4):860-872; 10.1038/s41396-018-0317-4 APR 2019
  • Pseudomonas protegens CHA0 does not increase phosphorus uptake from P-33 labeled synthetic hydroxyapatite by wheat grown on calcareous soil
    Meyer, G; Maurhofer, M; Frossard, E; Gamper, HA; Mader, P; Meszaros, E; Schonholzer-Mauclaire, L; Symanczik, S; Oberson, A
    SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY, 131 217-228; 10.1016/j.soilbio.2019.01.015 APR 2019
  • Protecting maize from rootworm damage with the combined application of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Pseudomonas bacteria and entomopathogenic nematodes
    Jaffuel, G; Imperiali, N; Shelby, K; Campos-Herrera, R; Geisert, R; Maurhofer, M; Loper, J; Keel, C; Turlings, TCJ; Hibbard, BE
    SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 9 10.1038/s41598-019-39753-7 FEB 28 2019
  • Conservation tillage and organic farming induce minor variations in Pseudomonas abundance, their antimicrobial function and soil disease resistance
    Dennert F; Imperiali N; Staub C; Schneider J; Laessle T; Zhang T; Wittwer R; van der Heijden MG; Smits THM; Schlaeppi K; Keel C; Maurhofer M
    FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY, 94 (8):10.1093/femsec/fiy075 AUG 2018
  • Root-colonizing bacteria enhance the levels of (E)-beta-caryophyllene produced by maize roots in response to rootworm feeding (vol 187, pg 459, 2018)
    Chiriboga, MX; Guo, HJ; Campos-Herrera, R; Roder, G; Imperiali, N; Keel, C; Maurhofer, M; Turlings, TCJ
    OECOLOGIA, 187 (2):469-469; 10.1007/s00442-018-4104-8 JUN 2018
  • Combined Field Inoculations of Pseudomonas Bacteria, Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, and Entomopathogenic Nematodes and their Effects on Wheat Performance 
    Imperiali, Nicola; Chiriboga, Xavier; Schlaeppi, Klaus; et al. 
  • Relationships between Root Pathogen Resistance, Abundance and Expression of Pseudomonas Antimicrobial Genes, and Soil Properties in Representative Swiss Agricultural Soils 
    Imperiali, Nicola; Dennert, Francesca; Schneider, Jana; et al. 
  • Antimicrobial and Insecticidal: Cyclic Lipopeptides and Hydrogen Cyanide Produced by Plant-Beneficial Pseudomonas Strains CHA0, CMR12a, and PCL1391 Contribute to Insect Killing 
    Flury, Pascale; Vesga, Pilar; Pechy-Tarr, Maria; et al. 
    Frontiers in Microbiology, 8: FEB 3 2017
  • Gross phosphorus fluxes in a calcareous soil inoculated with Pseudomonas protegens CHA0 revealed by P-33 isotopic dilution 
    Meyer G; Bunemann EK; Frossard E; et al. 
    SOIL BIOLOGY & BIOCHEMISTRY, 104: 81-94 JAN 2017
Monika Maurhofer

Prof. Dr. Monika Maurhofer
ETH Zurich
Institute of Integrative Biology
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 38 69

Research topics

  • Mechanisms of biocontrol of plant diseases by Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Diversity of plant growth-promoting root-colonizing bacteria in soil
  • Insecticidal activity of root-colonizing pseudomonads
  • Signaling between plants, fungal pathogens and beneficial bacteria in the rhizosphere
  • Risk assessment of fungal biocontrol agents




  • Collaboration with the groups of Beat Keller (UniZH) and Thomas Boller (UniBa) within the National Research Program NRP59 on benefits and risks of transgenic plants
  • Collaboration with Syngenta Crop Protection on insecticidal activity of plant-associated pseudomonads
  • Coming more from a microbiological background we always look for collaboration especially with specialists on plant insects pests or plant scientists