Systemic resistance in maize

Most studies about induced resistance involve dicotyledonous plants such as Arabidopsis, tobacco or tomato. Despite the economical importance of maize, studies about its defenses are less common. The aim of this project is a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and induced systemic resistance (ISR) in maize against different attacks (fungal pathogen and herbivores).


Colletotrichum graminicola, the causal agent of corn anthracnose, and Pseudomonas strains are used in this project as SAR and ISR inducers, respectively. As aboveground interactions have been more intensively studied than belowground interactions, we focus on shoot-to-root and vice versa signaling.

Recent publications

Planchamp C., Glauser G. , Mauch-Mani B. (2014) Root inoculation with Pseudomonas putida KT2440 induces transcriptional and metabolic changes and systemic resistance in maize plants.  Frontiers in Plant Science, in press.

Lange, E. S., Balmer, D., Mauch Mani, B., & Turlings, T. C. (2014). Insect and pathogen attack and resistance in maize and its wild ancestors, the teosintes. New Phytologist. In press      


Balmer, D., and Mauch-Mani, B. (2013) More beneath the surface? Root versus shoot antifungal plant defenses. Frontiers in Plant Science 6, doi:10.3389/fpls.2013.00256.
Balmer, D., Flors, V., Glauser, G. and Mauch-Mani, B. (2013) Metabolomics of cereals under biotic stress: current knowledge and techniques. Frontiers in Plant-Microbe Interaction, doi:10.3389/fpls.2013.00082.
Balmer, D., and Mauch-Mani, B. (2013) Small yet mighty - microRNAs in plant-microbe interactions. MicroRNA 2(1), 73-80.
Balmer, D., Villacres de Papajewski, D., Planchamp, C., Glauser, G., and Mauch-Mani, B. (2013) Induced resistance in maize is based on organ-specific defense. The Plant Journal, doi:10.1111/tpj.12114.
Balmer, D*., Planchamp, C.*, and Mauch-Mani, B. (2012) On the move: Induced resistance in monocots. J. Exp. Bot., doi:10.1093/jxb/ers248 (*contributed equally).
Balmer, D. and Mauch-Mani, B. (2012) Plant Hormones and Metabolites as Universal Vocabulary in Plant Defense Signaling. In Witzany, G. and Baluška, F. (eds.), Biocommunication of Plants, Signaling and Communication in Plants 14, 37-50, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-23524-5_3
Planchamp, C.*, Balmer, D*., Hund, A. and Mauch-Mani, B. (2012) A soil-free root observation system for the study of root-microorganism interactions in maize. Plant & Soil, doi:10.1007/s11104-012-1497-8 (*contributed equally).
Erb,M., Balmer,D., de Lange,E., von Merey,G., Planchamp,C., Robert,C.A.M., Röder,G., Sobhy,I., Zwahlen,C., Mauch-Mani,B., and Turlings,T.C.J. (2011) Synergies and trade-offs between insect and pathogen resistance in maize leaves and roots. Plant Cell Environ. 34:1088-103.
Erb,M., Flors,V., Karlen,D., de Lange,E., Planchamp,C., D’Alessandro,M., Turlings,T.C.J., and Ton,J. (2009). Signal signature of aboveground-induced resistance upon belowground herbivory in maize. Plant J 59:292–302.



B. Mauch-Mani


PhD students

Dirk Balmer and Chantal Planchamp have both obtained their PhD degree and have now left the lab