A summary: impact of the Institute für Pflanzenkrankheiten on phytopathological research and capacity building at the University of Bonn between 1923-2020

The history of plant pathology in Bonn began in 1947 when it was taught by Botanists and Agronomists on the university.  Then in 1914 a position for plant protection was established in Soil Science and Agronomy and under the leadership of Dr. Ernst Schaffnit who presented lectures in phytopathology for the first time as a specialist. His position was made a Full Professorship in 1921. 

Schaffnit then planned the Institute für Pflanzenkrankheiten building on Nusallee 9, which was completed six years later in 1927. It was the first University Institute of its kind in Germany and an important development for Phytopathology in Germany.  In 1930 Schaffnit established the Phytopathologische Zeitschrift, which was renamed the Journal of Phytopathology. His journal that still exists 90 years thereafter.

The Institute Directors were Schaffnit (1921), Blunck (1935), Braun (1948)and Weltzien (1965) after which a Chairmanship rotation was establish with the chairmanship changing hands (Dehne, Sengonca and Sikora)

In the 20 years after 1965 new scientific departments were established: Agricultural Microbiology, (B. Stille), Applied Entomology (V.  Moericke), Virology (F. Nienhaus) and Plant Protection (F. Schonbeck). The department of plant protection was later fused to become Applied Entomology and Plant Protection (F. Klingauf, C. Sengonca). Then Virology shifted to Soil Ecosystem Phytopathology and Nematology (R. Sikora).

In 2009 a reorganization of the faculty established two departments: Entomology and Nematology were combined to form Molecular Phytomedizin (F. Grundler) and in 2020 the Prof of Phytopathology was filled by (A. Djamei).  

This historical few on the institute was provided by Prof. em. Dr. Sikora.

historisches Bild Pflanzenkrankheiten 1947.png
© Copyright Uni Bonn

The former institute professors and the present department heads have added, and are still contributing, to the training of young scientists as well as to advances in phytomedizin. The large contributions to both capacity building and in publications are listed below.

Between 1923 and 2020  

Phd Students  

363 +


23 +


700 till 1978 +

Technical Assistant scholars

397 +

The different departments within the institute conducted research within a number of research thrusts both in Germany and Internationally.

  •         Completion of the first building housing an Institute for Phytomedizin in Germany
  •         Discovery by Moerike of the “Gelbtafel” for attraction of aphids and used today in plant protection
  •         1936-2010 Two year - Training program for Agricultural Technical Assistant with over …. trained
  •         1968 The fusion oft he Deutsche Phytomedizinische  Gesell. with Vereinigung Deutscher Pflanzenärzte Weltzien)
  •         1968  Weltzien who led fusion was made 1st DPG president
  •         1971-1980 DAAD Professorial exchange program, Institute with American University of Beirut
  •         1979 Institute involvement in DFG Research Thrust “Side effects of Herbicides”
  •         1971-1974 Volkswagen Stiftung “Geophytopathology: Distribution of Plant Diseases in the Middle East”
  •         1970s Institute involvement in  GTZ project to support Plant Protection Agencies in North Jemen
  •         1970-2010 Extensive cooperation with CG, International Agricultural Research Centers worldwide
  •         1870-2010 Cooperation with the plant protection industry in Germany
  •         1980s Institute involvement in DFG thrust “Side effects of Herbicides”
  •         1980-1988 Research in MURL thrust  „Atmosphere contaminants and forest decline“
  •         1990s Institute  involvement in DFG thrust “Mechanisms of Induced Resistance”
  •         1986-2020 Establishment of Institute Alumni Club “Freundeskreis des Instituts für Pflanzenkrankheiten“
  •         2001-11  Development of DFG Graduate College “Use of Information Technologies for Precision Crop Protection”
  •         2013-2018 Think-Tank at STIAS in South Africa “Impact sustainable intensification of agr. on food security”
  •         1968-2020 DPG Presidents (Weltzien, Schönbeck, Dehne, Hallmann, Mahlein)

The professors published a number of important Research and Academic books in Phytopathology

  •         Phytopathologische Zeitschrift 1939 (Schaffnit)
  •         Lehrbuch der Phytomedizin. 1976, 1985,1994, 2013 (Hoffmann et al.)
  •         Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Subtropical and Tropical Agriculture  1990, 2005, 2018 (Sikora et al)
  •         Farbatlas Gehölzkrankheiten 1992, 2003 (Nienhaus et al)
  •         Modern Fungicides and Antifungal Compounts  1998 – 2010 (Dehne et al)
  •         Historical review of 75 Jahre Institut für Pflanzenkrankheiten der Universität Bonn, 2002, (Saba)
  •         Tri-tropic interactions in the rhizosphere 2001-2006 Bulletins of the IOBC study group (Sikora et al)
  •         Precision Crop Protection – the Challenge and Use of Heterogeneity 2010 (Oerke et al)
  •         Transforming Agri. in Southern Africa: constraints, technologies, policies and processes 2020 (Sikora et al)
  •         Integrated Nematode Management: State of the Art and vision for the future. 2021 (Sikora et al.)

Institute Alumni promoted to other university professorial positions

  •         1939 J. Rademacher, Prof.  Phytopathology, Rektor Landw. Hochschule Hohenheim
  •         1941 E. Brandenburg, Prof. Univ.  Wien
  •         1955 E. Meyer, Prof. for Entomology and , Director Universität Hannover
  •         1970 W. Koßwig, Prof. Botanic und Phytopathology, Bonn
  •         1973 E. Schlösser. Prof. for Phytopathology Univ. Giessen
  •         1976 F. Klingauf, Prof. Entomology and Plant Protection, Bonn
  •         1982 F. Schönbeck, Prof. and Director Institute für Phytomedizin in Hannover
  •         1988 F. Klingauf, Prof. and President BBA, now Julius Kuehn Institute
  •         1967 H. Wilbert Prof. Entomology in Gottingen
  •         1964 G. Schwinn, Prof. for Microbiology, Univ. Fribourg and Basel
  •         1984 H. Buchenauer, Prof. for Phytopathology, Univ. Hannover, 1992 Hohenheim
  •         2014 J. Hallmann, APL Professor for Phytopathology, University of Kassel, Witzenhäusen
  •          2019 A.-K. Mahlein, Professor for Phytopathology University of Göttingen
  •         1965 J. Kranz, Prof. for  Phytopathology Univ. Giessen
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