Mining the untapped chemical potential of entomopathogenic fungi for sustainable agriculture and human health.

Dr Steven Harte (primary)
Agriculture, Health and Environment Department
Natural resources Institute (university of Greenwich)
Prof Phil Stevenson (secondary)
Natural Capital and Plant Health (Kew)
Kew Gardens


This project will identify novel secondary metabolites from entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) that have many potential applications. EPF produce unique entomotoxic or immuno-regulatory compounds but only transiently and in low concentrations during infection, so are difficult to study. The project will develop culturing techniques to optimise metabolite production that facilitate structural elucidation and biological activity testing. The genes responsible for metabolite production will be identified using DNA and RNA sequencing. This will enlighten our understanding of EPF modes of infection and accelerate their development for use in agriculture and medicine. This project is split equally between NRI and RBG Kew.


Fernández-Grandon, G.M.; Harte, S.J.; Ewany, J.; Bray, D.; Stevenson, P.C. (2020) Additive Effect of Botanical Insecticide and Entomopathogenic Fungi on Pest Mortality and the Behavioral Response of Its Natural Enemy. Plants 9, 173.

Zhang, L; Fasoyin, O.E.; Molnar, I; Xu, Y; (2020) Secondary metabolites from hypocrealean entomopathogenic fungi: novel bioactive compounds; Nat. Prod. Rep.

Armitage, A.D.; Cockerton H.M.; Sreenivasaprasad, S.; Woodhall, J.; Lane, C.R., Harrison, R.J., Clarkson, J.P.; (2020) Genomics, Evolutionary History and Diagnostics of the Alternaria alternata Species Group Including Apple and Asian Pear Pathotypes; Front. Microbiol. 10, 3124.

Stevenson, Philip C., Veitch, Nigel C. (1999) A 2-arylbenzofuran from roots of Cicer bijugum associated with fusarium wilt resistance. Phytochemistry, 48 (6). pp. 947-951. (doi:

Zu, Pengjuan, Boege, Karine, del-Val, Ek, Schuman, Meredith, Stevenson, Philip, Zaldivar-Riveron, Alejandro and Saavedra, Serguei (2020) Information arms race explains plant-herbivore chemical communication in ecological communities. Science.

Plants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Chemical BiologyGenetics
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsChemistryGeneticsMathematics / StatisticsMolecular Biology