Dr Geoffrey C Kite

Laboratory Manager (Biochemistry)


Science Operations


Science Services and Laboratories


Analysis of small molecules by mass spectrometry

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.


  • PhD, Univ. London, 1986
  • BSc, Botany, Univ. London, 1982


  • Arthur E. Schwarting Award (co-author), Journal of Natural Products (2016)
  • London Biological Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group Award (2007)
  • Jack L. Beal Award (co-author), Journal of Natural Products (2003)
  • ARPS, Royal Photographic Society (1986)


  • Editor, Specialist Science & Conservation News, Kew website (2010-2014)
  • Production Editor, Kew Scientist (1992-2014)
  • Committee, VAM Mass Spectrometry Working Group (2004-2006)
  • Committee, Phytochemical Society of Europe (1988-1991)

Kite, G.C., Hetterscheid, W.L.A. (2017).

Phylogenetic trends in the evolution of inflorescence odours in Amorphophallus.

Phytochemistry 142: 126-142.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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