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Kite, Geoffrey C.

Photo of Geoffrey Kite
Job title: 

Research Phytochemist (Mass Spectrometry)

Jodrell Laboratory
Sustainable Uses
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 - to date)
  • Editor, Specialist Science & Conservation News, Kew website (2010 - to date)

Use of mass spectrometry to study plant chemical diversity.

Responsible for the development of mass spectrometry in the Jodrell Laboratory in the analysis of ‘small molecules’ in plants. Techniques utilizing mass spectrometry are fundamental to Kew's research in systematic phytochemistry, natural product discovery and the chemical authentication of plant extracts or products, and also contribute to many studies on the sustainable uses of plants and answering enquiries.

Current instrumentation comprises a high resolution liquid chromatograph–hybrid ion trap/orbitrap mass spectrometer, a liquid chromatograph–quadrupole mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph–quadrupole mass spectrometer with thermal desorption capability.

Systematic phytochemical applications are being undertaken in Leguminosae, monocots, Malpighiales, Myrtaceae and Lamiaceae in collaboration with taxonomists and phytochemists at Kew and from other institutions. Chemical authentication of plant extracts or products focuses on issues arising from plants or extracts being traded in the UK, while enquiries are often concerned with poisoning cases.

Also responsible for producing Kew Scientist and the more specialist Science & Conservation News stories on the Kew website.

Selected publications: 

Kite, G.C., Larsson, S., Veitch, N.C., Porter, E.A., Ding, N. & Simmonds, M.S.J. (2013). Acyl spermidines in inflorescence extracts of elder (Sambucus nigra L., Adoxaceae) and elderflower drinks. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 61: 3501-3508. Available online

Kite, G.C., Cardoso, D., Veitch, N.C. & Lewis, G.P. (2013). Quinolizidine alkaloid status of Acosmium s.s., Guianodendron and Leptolobium, the segregate genera of Acosmium s.l. South African Journal of Botany 89: 176-180.

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