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Kite, Geoffrey C.

Photo of Geoffrey Kite
Job title: 

Laboratory Manager (Biochemistry)

Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Botany, Univ. London, 1982
  • PhD, Univ. London, 1986
  • ARPS, Royal Photographic Society (1986)
  • Committee, Phytochemical Society of Europe (1988-1991)
  • Committee, VAM Mass Spectrometry Working Group (2004-2006)
  • Production Editor, Kew Scientist (1992-present)
  • Editor, Specialist Science & Conservation News, Kew website (2010-present)

I manage Kew’s metabolomic facilities employed by researchers to profile the small molecules produced by plants and fungi and identify target compounds. Data acquired on these metabolites are used to investigate ecological interactions between organisms, authenticate traded extracts, discover new uses for plants and fungi, and map the evolution of chemical traits.

The facilities are centred around an ultra high resolution liquid chromatograph interfaced with a high resolution serial mass spectrometer, a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer with thermal desorption capability, and a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. These are supported by several other instrumental chromatography and detection systems.

I am particularly interested in the challenge of developing mass spectrometry techniques to rapidly and confidently identify some of the estimated one million metabolites produced by plants and fungi.

Selected publications: 

Kite, G. C., Rowe, E.R., Veitch, N. C., Turner, J. E. & Dauncey, E. A. (2013). Generic detection of basic taxoids in wood of European Yew (Taxus baccata) by liquid chromatography–ion trap mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography B 915-916: 21-27. Available online

Kite, G. C. & Veitch, N. C. (2011). Identification of common glycosyl groups of flavonoid O-glycosides by serial mass spectrometry of sodiated species. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25: 2579–2590. Available online

Kite, G. C., Green, P. W. C, Veitch, N. C, Groves, M. C., Gasson, P. E. & Simmonds, M. S. J. (2010). Dalnigrin, a neoflavonoid marker for the identification of Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) in CITES enforcement. Phytochemistry 71: 1122-1131. Available online

Kite, G. C., Porter, E. A. & Simmonds, M. S. J. (2007). Chromatographic behaviour of saponins studied by high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A 1148: 177–183. Available online

Kite, G. C., Ismail, M., Simmonds, M. S. J. & Houghton, P.J . (2003). Use of doubly protonated molecules in the analysis of cathedulins in crude extracts of khat (Catha edulis) by liquid chromatography-serial mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17: 1553‒1564. Available online