Commercial Phytochemistry Unit

Providing unique expertise for the evaluation of the uses of plants and fungi as well as the authentication of botanical and fungal extracts used commercially.

Gloved hand holding a multi channel pipette

Our Commercial Phytochemistry Unit (CPU) works with industries, regulators and research institutes worldwide to scientifically characterise the uses of plants and fungi or authenticate (fit for purpose) and identify the plant and fungal origins of extracts entering the trade.

We evaluate functional and novel foods and drinks, dyes, fragrances and medicinal plants, including plants used in traditional medical systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We bio-prospect for active compounds for drug development, with a focus on insect control, antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activity. 

What we offer

  • Research leading to the selection and identification of plant and fungal extracts for specialised uses
  • Confirmation of the identity and quality of commercial plant/fungal extracts
  • Protocol development and validation of analytical methods
     

Resources available 

Our research utilises a range of analytical instruments including high and low-resolution LC-MSn (Thermo, Velos Pro & Orbitrap Fusion), GCMS (HP), HPLC (semi-preparative and analytical), IR and NMR (400 MHz, Bruker). 

Clients and partners of CPU can have access to our unique plant and fungal collections, specialist expertise and scientific insight. 

Access to a living collection of more than 40,000 specimens and a herbarium with more than 8 million vouchers of plants and fungi. 

Expert knowledge on the distribution of plants, their conservation status and sustainable supply. 

We work in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), particularly in relation to the Nagoya Protocol and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
 

Who we are

Deputy Director of Science (Commercial Innovation):
Professor Monique Simmonds OBE

Natural Product Chemists:
Dr Rui Fang
Esther Grosskopf
Dr Federico Padilla 
Dr Nicholas Sadgrove
Michal Zweig
 

How to contact us

We can work with you to develop innovative and high-quality plant/fungal-based products. Contact us to discuss your needs and requirements: cpu@kew.org

  • People in a lab

    Small Molecule Analysis Laboratory

    This laboratory is equipped to analyse and identify the secondary metabolites produced by plants and fungi.

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  • Global partnerships and collaborations

    Partnering with us helps companies and organisations deliver science-based plant conservation worldwide.

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