Plant pathology

The Maurhofer research group has an 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. Monika's research 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 ETH Zurich biology and pharmacy students. She also offers a block course in plant pathology for third year ETHZ and UniZH biology students.


Recent Publications

  • Phylogenetically closely related pseudomonads isolated from arthropods exhibit differential insect-killing abilities and genetic variations in insecticidal factors
    Vesga, Pilar; Augustiny, Eva; Keel, Christoph; Maurhofer, Monika; Vacheron, Jordan
    Environmental Microbiology 10.1111/1462-2920.15623  SEP 2021
  • Effects of Root-Colonizing Fluorescent Pseudomonas Strains on Arabidopsis Resistance to a Pathogen and an Herbivore
    Loeser, Tobias B.; Mescher, Mark C.; De Moraes, Consuelo M.; Maurhofer, Monika
    Applied And Environmental Microbiology 10.1128/AEM.02831-20  JUL 2021
  • 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
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