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Stevenson, Phil

Photo of Phil Stevenson
Job title: 

Plant Chemist

Jodrell Laboratory
Sustainable Uses
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Applied Biology, Brunel University, 1988.
  • PhD, University of London, 1992.
  • Professorship. Awarded title Professor of Plant Chemistry University of Greenwich, 2011.
  • Regional Editor, Biopesticides International
  • Editorial Board, Crop Protection, Bulletin of Entomological Research, The Natural Products Journal



Isolation and analysis of plant compounds and biological activity testing against agricultural pests.

A major emphasis of work is on the isolation and characterization of compounds from plants that have pesticidal properties and/or play a role in plant-insect and plant-fungal interactions. Lead two major projects optimising pesticidal plants by resource poor farmers for protecting stored products, field crops and livestock in sub Saharan Africa funded from the McKnight Foundation and the EU 9th Development fund via African Caribbean and Pacific Science and Technology Program and Southern African Development Cooperation. The taxonomic focus for this research has been Leguminosae, Polygalaceae, Verbenaceae and Meliaceae. Many activities are undertaken in collaboration with the Natural Resource Institute of the University of Greenwich and support the sustainable use of plants by resource-poor farmers in developing countries. Also studying wild crop relatives to identify chemical based resistance mechanisms to pests. This research has also resulted in the elucidation of novel compounds with biological activities that can be used as valuable characters in chemosystematics. Currently am co-PI for a BBSRC project investigating the role of plant secondary metabolites in mediating pollinator behaviour and potential role in pollinator decline in the UK landscape. Responsible for HPLC operation and development in the Jodrell Laboratory as a tool for the analysis of ‘small molecules’ in phytochemical studies with particular emphasis on isolation of novel compounds, but also for chemical authentication of plant extracts or products, and enquiries.

Selected publications: 

Amoabeng, B.W., Gurr, G.M. Gitau, C.W. & Stevenson, P.C. (2014). Cost: benefit analysis of botanical insecticide use in cabbage: implications for smallholder farmers in developing countries. Crop Protection. 57: 71-76. Available online 

Grzywacz, D., Stevenson, P.C., Belmain, S.R. & Wilson, K. (2014). The Use of Indigenous Ecological Resources for Pest Control in Africa. Food Security 6: 71-86. Available online

Amoabeng, B.W., Gurr, G.M. Gitau, C.W., Nicol, H.I., Munyakazi, L. & Stevenson, P.C. (2013). Tri-trophic insecticidal effects of African plants against cabbage pests. PLoS One. 8(10): e78651. Available online

Arnold, S.E.J., Belmain, S.R. & Stevenson, P.C. (2012). Odour-mediated orientation of beetles is influenced by age, sex and morph. PLoS ONE. 7 (11); e49071. Available online

Belmain, S.R., Amoah, B.A., Nyirenda, S.P., Kamanula, J.F. & Stevenson, P.C. (2012). Highly Variable Insect Control Efficacy of Tephrosia vogelii Chemotypes. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60: 10055–10063. Available online