Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


Antony Hooper

Senior Research Scientist
Biointeractions and Crop Protection

Research Interests: The study of volatile and non-volatile semiochemicals, including insect pheromones, plant volatiles, and allelochemicals. This involves identification and structure elucidation by NMR spectroscopy of novel signals in the first instance. Subsequent strategies includes stereoselective chemical synthesis, using renewable resources where possible, biotechnological production by characterising the enzymes controlling biosynthesis and their delivery in field applications to promote food security.

Rhizosphere allelochemicals in the control of striga parasitism

  • Leading a project on the chemical aspects of striga control by allelochemicals secreted in root exudates, collaborative with ICIPE, Kenya and Sheffield University.
  • Characterisation of the enzymes and genes that biosynthesise active metabolites, collaborative with JIC and Durham University.

NMR Spectroscopy

  • Currently run the Institute 500 MHz facility with emphasis on structure elucidation of sub-milligram quantities using Capillary-Probe and Micro-Probe NMR spectroscopy coupled to HPLC or GC isolation.

Chemical synthesis                                                                                                                                     

  • Development of highly stereoselective and stereospecific syntheses of putative and known semiochemicals to investigate biological systems either in the laboratory, such as the binding of ligands to insect odorant-binding proteins, or in the field where large-scale synthesis from renewable resources may be possible (sandfly pheromones).
+44 (0) 1582 763 133 ext: +44 1582 938130
Rothamsted Research, West Common, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ
Past Projects
Project Leader
  • Towards incorporating the biosynthetic transformation required for Striga inhibition from Desmodium into edible legume intercrops
  • Towards incorporating the biosynthetic transformation required for Striga inhibition from Desmodium into edible legume intercrops: Supplement project
  • Achieving sustainable Striga control for poor farmers in Africa
  • Genomic approaches to understanding and exploiting interactions between the parasitic weeds Striga species and their hosts
  • Chemical ecology of pest and beneficial arthropods : Identification, biosynthesis and scaled production of pheromones and other semiochemicals
  • Innovative approaches to pest management
  • Research Experience Placement Student (Reading)
  • *Research Exp Student Directors


Z Khan, CAO Midega, A Hooper, J Pickett. Push-Pull: Chemical Ecology-based integrated pest management technology. J. Chem Ecol., 2016, DOI 10.1007/s10886-016-0730-y.

B Hao, JC Caulfield, ML Hamilton, JA Pickett, CAO Midega, ZR Khan, J Wang, AM HooperThe biosynthesis of natural and novel C-glycosylflavones utilising recombinant Oryza sativa C-glycosyltransferase (OsCGT) and D. incanum root proteins. Phytochemistry 2016, 125, 73-87.

B Hao, JC Caulfield, ML Hamilton, JA Pickett, CAO Midega, ZR Khan, J Wang, AM Hooper. The biosynthesis of the allelopathic di-C-glycosylflavones from the roots of Desmodium incanum (G. Mey) DC. Org. Biomol. Chem., 2015, 13, 11663-11673.

CAO Midega, J Pickett, A Hooper, J Pittchar Z Khan.Maize landraces are less affected by Striga hermonthica relative to hybrids in western Kenya. Weed Technology, 2015, 30, 1, 21-28

AM Hooper, JC Caulfield, B. Hao, JA Pickett, CAO Midega, ZR Khan. Isolation and identification of Desmodium root exudates from drought tolerant species used as intercrops against Striga hermonthica. Phytochemistry, 2015, 117, 380-387. 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.06.026

J Vutz, W Francke, K Mori, PHG Zarbin, AM Hooper, JG Millar, JA Pickett, M Toth, K Chamberlain, JC Caulfield, CM Woodcock, AG Troger, EB Csonka, MA Birkett. Pheromone bouquet of the dried bean beetle, Acanthoscelides obtectus (Col.: Chrysomelidae), now complete, Eur. J. Org. Chem., 2015, 22, 4843-4846 

JA Picket et al. Delivering sustainable crop protection systems via the seed: exploiting natural constitutive and inducible defence pathways. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 2014, 369, 20120281

JRCho, MH Lee, CG Park, T Hooper, CW Woodcok, J Pickett. Behavioral response of the lacewing Chysopa cognata to both Aphis gossypii-induced plant volatiles and Chrysopa cognata-derived volatiles. Korean J. Appl. Entomol. 2014, 53, 7-13

JA Pickett, AM Hooper, CAO Midega, ZR Khan. In Parasitic Orobanchaceae 2013Allelopathy, pp 459-467

ML Hamilton, SP Kuate, M Brazier-Hicks, JC Caulfield, R Rose, R Edwards, B Torto, JA Pickett, AM Hooper. Elucidation of the biosynthesis of the di-C-glycosylflavone isoschaftoside, an allelopathic component from Desmodium spp. that inhibits Striga spp. development. Phytochemistry, 2012, 84, 169-176.

P Xu, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, WS Leal. Specificity determinants of the silkworn moth sex pheromone. PLOS ONE, 2012, 7, 9, e44190

S Dufour, P Castets, JA Pickett, AM Hooper. A diastereoselective synthesis of (1SR,3SR,7RS)-3-methyl-a-himachalene, the sex pheromone of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae). Tetrahedron, 2012, 68, 5102-5108.

MC Blassioli-Moraes, RA Laumann, MWM Oliveira, CM Woodcock, P Mayon, A Hooper, JA Pickett, MA Birkett, M Borges. Sex pheromone communication in two sympatric neotropical stink bug species Chinavia ubica and Chinavia impicticornis. J. Chem. Ecol., 2012, 38, 7, 836-845.

JA Pickett and AM Hooper. Delivering resistance to a major constraint for rain-fed rice production. New Phytologist, 2011, 192, 792-794.

CN Spiegel LG Batista-Pereira, JA Bretas, AE Eiras, AM Hooper, AE Peixoto, MJ Soares. Pheromone gland development and pheromone production in Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera; Psychodidae: Phlebotoniae). J. Med. Entomol. 2011, 48,3,489-495.

AM Hooper, MK Tsanuo, K Chamberlain, K Tittcomb, J Scholes, A Hassanali, ZR Khan, JA Pickett. Isoschaftoside, a C-glycosylflavonoid from Desmodium uncinatum root exudate, is an allelochemical against the development of Striga. Phytochemistry, 2010, 71, 904-908.

ZR Khan, JA Pickett, ML Hamilton, A Hassanali, AM Hooper, SP Kuate, CAO Midega, J Pittchar, B Torto. Control of stem borers and striga in African cereals: a low input push-pull approach with rapidly expanding impact. Aspects of Applied Biology, 2010, 96, 71-76.

JA Pickett, ML Hamilton, AM Hooper, ZR Khan, CAO Midega. Companion cropping to manage parasitic plants. Ann. Rev. Phytopathol., 2010, 48.1.1-8.17.

ZR Khan, CAO Midega, TJA Bruce, AM Hooper, JA Pickett. Exploiting phytochemicals for developing a 'push-pull' crop protection strategy for cereal farmers in Africa. J. Exper. Bot., 2010. doi: 10, 1093/jxb/erq229.

X He, G Tzotzos, C Woodcock, JA Pickett, T Hooper, LM Field, JJ Zhou. Binding of the general odorant protein of Bombyx mori BmorGOBP2 to the moth sex pheromone components. J. Chem Ecol., 2010, 36, 1293-1305.

AM Hooper, ZR Khan, B Torto, MA Birkett, TJ Bruce, JA Pickett. Exploiting phytochemical diversity to control pests of agriculture and vectors of human and animal disease in Aspects of African Diversity, ed. J Midowo and J Clough, RSC publishing, 2010, p 43-48.

ML Hamilton, JC Caulfield, JA Pickett, AM Hooper. C-glucosylflavonoid biosynthesis from 2-hydroxynaringenin by Desmodium uncinatum (Jacq.)(Fabaceae). Tetrahedron Lett., 2009, 50, 5656-5659.

AM Hooper, A Hassanali, K Chamberlain, Z Khan, JA Pickett. New genetic opportunities from legume intercrops for controlling Striga spp. parasitic weeds. Pest Manag. Sci., 2009, 65, 546-552

JJ Zhou, G Robertson, X He, S Dufour, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, NH Keep, LM Field. Characterisation of Bombyx mori odorant-binding protein reveals that a general odorant-binding protein discriminates between sex pheromone components. J. Mol. Biol., 2009, 389, 529-545

AM Hooper, S Dufour, X He, A Muck, JJ Zhou, R Almeida LM Field, JA Pickett. High-throughput ESI-MS analysis of binding between the Bombyx mori pheromone-binding protein BmorPBP1, its pheromone components and some analogues. Chem. Commun., 2009, 5725-5727. (Chem. Commun. ‘hot article’)

MA Birkett, SA Abassi. T Krober, K Chamberlain, AM Hooper, PM Guerin, J Pettersson, JA Pickett, R Slade, LJ Wadhams. Antiectoparasitic activity of the gum resin, gum haggar, from the East African plant, Commiphora holtziana. Phytochemistry, 2008, 69, 1710-1715.

ZR Khan, JA Pickett, A Hassanali, AM Hooper, CAO Midega. Desmodium species and associated biochemical traits for controlling Striga species; present and future prospects. Weed Research, 2008, 48, 302-306.

TJA Bruce, AM Hooper, L Ireland, OT Jones, JL Martin, LE Smart, J Oakley and LJ Wadhams. Development of a pheromone trap monitoring system for orange wheat blossom midge, Sitodiplosis mosellana, in the UK. Pest Manag. Sci., 2007, 63, 49-56.

SM Guchu, A Yenesew, MK Tsanuo, NK Gikonyo, JA Pickett, AM Hooper, A. Hassanali. C-methylated and C-prenylated isoflavonoids from root extract of Desmodium uncinatum. Phytochemistry, 2007, 68, 646-651.

A Stewart-Jones, SY Dewhirst, L Durrant JD Fitzgerald, J Hardie, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, GM Poppy, Structure, ratios and patterns of release in the sex pheromone of an aphid, Dysaphis plantaginea. 2007, J. Exp. Biol., 210, 24, 4335-4344.

AM Hooper, S Dufour, S Willaert, S Pouvreau. JA Pickett. Synthesis of (2S,7S)-dibutyroxynonane, the sex pheromone of the orange wheat blossom midge, Sitodiplosis mosellana (Gehin) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), by diastereoselective silicon-tethered ring-closing metathesis. Tetrahedron Letters, 2007, 48, 5991-5994.

AM Hooper, J-B Farcet, NP Mulholland, JA Pickett, Synthesis of 9-methylgermacrene B, racemate of the sex pheromone of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lapinha), from the renewable resource, Geranium macrorrhizum essential oil. Green Chem., 2006, 8, 513.

TJA Bruce, MA Birkett, J Blande, AM Hooper, JL Martin, B Khambay, I Prosser, LE Smart, LJ Wadhams. Response of economically important aphids to componenets of Hemizygia petiolata essential oil. Pest Manag. Sci., 2005, 61, 1115-1121.

CN Spiegel, P Jeanbourquin, PM Guerin, AM Hooper, S Claude, R Tabacchi, S Sano, K Mori. (1S,3S,7R)-3-methyl-a-himachalene from the male sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) induces neurophysiological responses and attracts both males and females J. Insect Physiol., 2005, 51, 1366-1375.

MW Ndung’u, B Kaoneka, A Hassanali, W Lwande, AM Hooper, F Tayman, O Zerbe, B Torto. New mosquito larvicidal tetranortriterpenoids from Turraea wakefieldii and Turraea floribunda. J. Ag. Food Chem., 2004, 52, 5027-5031.

SH Goldansaz, S Dewhirst, MA Birkett, AM Hooper, DWM Smiley, JA Pickett, L Wadhams, J McNeil. Identification of two sex pheromone components of the potato aphid, Macrosiphon euphorbiae (Thomas). J. Chem., Ecol., 2004, 30, 4, 819-834.

AM Hooper, JA Pickett. Semiochemistry in Encyclopedia of Supramolecular Chemistry, 2004.

AM Hooper, E Napper, JA Pickett, Insect Alarm Pheromones in Encyclopedia of Entomology, 2004.

M Ndung’u, A Hassanali, AM Hooper, S Chhabra, T Miller, RL Paul, B Torto Ring A-seco mosquito larvacidal limonoids from Turraea wakefieldii. Phytochemistry, 2003, 64, 4, 817-823.

MK Tsanuo, A Hassanali, AM Hooper, Z Khan, F Kaberia, JA Pickett, LJ Wadhams, Isoflavanones from the allelopathic aqueous root exudate of Desmodium uncinatum. Phytochemistry, 2003, 64, 1, 265-273.

BPS Khambay, DG Beddie, AM Hooper, MSJ Simmonds, Isolation, characterisation and synthesis of an insecticidal tetramethyltetrahydrochromenedione-spiro-bicyclo[3.1.1]cycloheptane from two species of Myrtaceae. Tetrahedron, 2003, 59, 7131-7133.

ZR Khan, A Hassanali, W Overholt, TM Khamis, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, LJ Wadhams, CM Woodcock. Control of the witchweed Striga hermonthica by intercropping with Desmodium uncinatum spp., and the mechanism defined as allelopathic. J. Chem. Ecol., 2002, 28, 9, 1871-1885.

AM Hooper,B Donato, CM Woodcock, JH Park, RL Paul, KS Boo, J Hardie, JA Pickett. Characterization of (1R,4S,4aR,7S,7aR)-dihydronepetalactol as a semiochemical for lacewings, including Chrysopa spp. and Peyerimhoffina gracilis. J. Chem. Ecol., 2002, 28, 4, 829-851.

I Prosser, AL Phillips, S Gittings, MJ Lewis, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, MH Beale. (+)-(10R)-Germacrene A synthase from goldenrod, Solidago canadensis.  cDNA isolation, bacterial expression and functional analysis. Phytochemistry, 2002, 60, 7, 691-702.

MA Birkett, K Chamberlain, AM Hooper, JA Pickett. Does allelopathy offer real promise for practical weed management and for explaining rhizosphere interations involving higher plants? Plant and Soil, 2001, 232, 31-39.

BPS Khambay, DG Beddie, AM Hooper, MSJ Simmonds, PWC Green. New insecticidal tetradecahydroxanthenediones from Callistomon viminalis. J. Nat. Prod., 1999, 62, 12, 1666-1667.

U Hanefield, AM Hooper, J Staunton. Synthesis of prelactone B. Synthesis-Stuttgart, 1999, 3, 401-4-3.

NG Agelopoulos, AM Hooper, SP Maniar, JA Pickett, LJ Wadhams. A novel approach for isolation of volatile chemicals by individual leaves of a plant in situ. J. Chem. Ecol., 1999, 25, 6, 1411-1425.

AM Hooper, DG Beddie, BPS Khambay. An umpolung approach to fluorinated non-ester pyrethroids. Pestic. Sci., 1999, 55, 488-489.

AM Hooper, JA Bennison, MC Luszniak, JA Pickett, EM Pow, LJ Wadhams. Verbena x hybrida flower volatiles attractive to western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis. Pestic. Sci., 1999, 55, 660-662.

N Agelopoulos, MA Birkett, AJ Hick, AM Hooper, JA Pickett, EA Pow, LE Smart, DWM Smiley, LJ Wadhams, CM Woodcock. Exploiting semiochemicals in insect control. Pestic. Sci., 1999, 55, 225-235.

JGC Hamilton, AM Hooper, HC Ibbotson, S Kurosawa, K Mori, S Muto, JA Pickett. 9-Methylgermacrene-B is confirmed as the sex pheromone of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis from Laphina, Brazil and the relative stereochemistry defined as S. Chem. Commun., 1999, 2335-2336.

JGC Hamilton, AM Hooper, K Mori, JA Pickett, S Sano, 3-Methyl-a-himachalene is confirmed, and the relative stereochemistry defined, by synthesis as the sex pheromone of the sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis from Jacobina, Brazil. Chem. Commun., 1999, 355-356.

AM Hooper, RW Rickards. 3-Amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid in antibiotic biosynthesis XI. Biological origins and semisynthesis of thionaphthomycins, and the structures of naphthomycins I and J. Journal of Antibiotics, 1998, 51, 9, 845-851.

AM Hooper, RW Rickards. 3-Amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid in antibiotic biosynthesis XII. Origin of the oxygen functionality of the ansamycin antibiotic actamycin. Journal of Antibiotics, 1998, 51, 10, 958-962.

D Hedley, BPS Khambay, AM Hooper, RD Thomas, AL Devonshire. Proinsecticides effective against insecticide-resistant peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae (Sulzer)). Pestic. Sci., 1998, 53, 201-208.

CJ Dutton, AM Hooper, PF Leadlay, J Staunton. Avermectin Biosynthesis–Intact incorporation of a diketide chain assembly intermediate into the polyketide macrocycle. Tetrahedron Letters, 1994, 35, 327-330.



PhD in Chemistry (Cambridge University)


BA in Chemistry (St John's College, Cambridge University)

Measures of esteem


  • Group Leader - biosignaling: Royal Society of Chemistry KE event for Sustainable Agriculture and Soils Innovation
  • Semiochemistry - the chemical language of ecology and its applications in human health and agriculture: Royal Society of Chemistry Symposium of Natural Products


  • Core Group Member COST action FA1206, Strigolactones enhance agricultural methodologies


  • Chartered Chemist; CChem: Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Chartered Scientist; CSci: Science Council


  • Key note speaker 5th CRSI-RSC symposium in Chemistry.: Will allelopathy drive chemistrs underground? C-Glycosylflavones in plants.
  • Invited Speaker to the 27th Annual ICSE Conference
  • Pan-Africa Chemistry Network Congress on Agricultural Productivity, Accra, Ghana: The chemical ecological control of the biotic constraints of cereal production in resource-poor farms in East Africa: Chemistry in Ecology


  • Supervisor of African student through ARPPIS funds.


  • Key note lecture by invitation of the RSC to the UK-Brazil symposium on Natural Products, Fortaleza.: Semiochemistry above and below ground.


  • Key note speaker through association with the Pan-Africa Chemistry Network: Exploiting phytochemical diversity to control pests of agriculture and vectors of human and animal disease.
  • Synthetic biology network SPPI-NET steering group
  • OECD conference; Managing parasitic weeds: Integrating science and practice.: New genetic opportunities from legume intercrops for controlling Striga spp. parasitic weeds.


  • Bioresources group committee of the Society of Chemical Industry


  • Associate Editor, Pest Management Science


  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry