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


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.

Disciplines and Techniques
Project supervisor/s
Dr Steven Harte
Agriculture Health and Environment (
University of Greenwich Natural Resources Institute (NRI)
 Professor Phil Stevenson
Agriculture Health and Environment (
Natural Capital and Plant Health (Kew) Kew Gardens
Additive Effect of Botanical Insecticide and Entomopathogenic Fungi on Pest Mortality and the Behavioral Response of Its Natural Enemy
Fernández-Grandon, G.M.; Harte, S.J.; Ewany, J.; Bray, D.; Stevenson, P.C.
Plants 9, 173
Secondary metabolites from hypocrealean entomopathogenic fungi: novel bioactive compounds
Zhang, L; Fasoyin, O.E.; Molnar, I; Xu, Y
Nat. Prod. Rep.
Genomics, Evolutionary History and Diagnostics of the Alternaria alternata Species Group Including Apple and Asian Pear Pathotypes; Front
Armitage, A.D.; Cockerton H.M.; Sreenivasaprasad, S.; Woodhall, J.; Lane, C.R., Harrison, R.J., Clarkson, J.P.
Microbiol. 10, 3124.
A 2- arylbenzofuran from roots of Cicer bijugum associated with fusarium wilt resistance
Stevenson, Philip C., Veitch, Nigel C
Phytochemistry, 48 (6). pp. 947-951
Information arms race explains plantherbivore chemical communication in ecological communities. Science
Zu, Pengjuan, Boege, Karine, del-Val, Ek, Schuman, Meredith, Stevenson, Philip, ZaldivarRiveron, Alejandro and Saavedra, Serguei