Dr Geoffrey C Kite

Laboratory Manager (Biochemistry)


Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology (CPFB)


Analytical Methods


Analysis of small molecules by mass spectrometry

Biography Plus

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.

Qualifications and appointments Plus


  • 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)
Selected publications Plus

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

Phylogenetic trends in the evolution of inflorescence odours in Amorphophallus

Phytochemistry 142: 126-142.     Available online

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

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