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Derek Stewart

Staff picture: Derek Stewart
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Business Sector Leader – Agri-Food
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Derek Stewart is the Business Sector Lead: AgriFood at the James Hutton Institute. As the Business Sector Lead: Agrifood, Derek is responsible for developing the research opportunities on agriculture, food and drink supply and value chains, production systems, biomass, waste valorisation and the (bio)circular economy.  Derek was previously the leader of the Crop Productivity and Utilisation Theme and before that the Plant Product and Food Quality department (SCRI). He current holds the Chair of Food Chemistry in the Department of Engineering and Physical Science at Heriot Watt University.  Over 30 years he has pursued a career in crop production, raw material composition and its relation to product quality, functionality, bioactivity and utility and this is reflected in his >170 refereed publications.  Across his career he has had coordination and WP leader positions in large EU grants and significant experience as a PI in RCUK and Innovate UK projects. Professor Stewart sits on many national and EU review panels and is currently one of the experts on the Quaker Centre of Excellence and Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre scientific advisory boards.

Current research interests

Metabolomics - the desire to delve ever deeper and wider into plant composition has been driven by the necessity to obtains  a better understanding of the factors which govern and drive plant metabolism and therefore ultimately define the end quality, health and nutrition traits. Metabolomics, the simultaneous and untargeted analysis of multiple metabolites at a defined timeframe, is the focus of an intense research effort covering several biological issues. These include metabolites changes in relation to plant-food organolepsis (see below), the potato tuber life cycle, the influence of genetics versus environment (potato and soft fruit), biodiversity etc. The technologies developed via these approaches have attracted great interest and have led to significant external funding.

  • Development  of unified data models  and  data pre-processing  strategies and the generation of  meaningful, standardised statistical analyses of metabolome variability in crop plants (Food Standards Agency).
  • Transcriptome, proteome and metabolome analysis to detect unintended effects in genetically modified potato (Food Standards Agency).
  • Quantitative risk assessment strategies for novel foods (NOFORISK, EU).
  • Promoting food safety through a new integrated risk analysis approach to foods (SAFEFOOD, EU).
  • Assessment of plant germplasm for bioactive molecules (Scottish Government).

Linking plant composition to health benefits - it is clear that plant-derived foods are required and generally beneficial to human health.  It is only now that real details are being elucidated with regard to the basis and mechanisms by which plants exert these benefits.  As part of several core and external collaborations we are seeking to determine which phytochemicals in soft fruit, potatoes and other main and niche crops are the key determinants of health benefits.  These studies have benefited by several links to key collaborative groups such as RRI, NICHE and the new Centre for Health Inducing Plants (CHIP), a virtual centre comprising The James Hutton Institute and The University of Dundee Medical School

Organoleptic basis of plant-derived  foods - the organoleptic qualities, flavour, aroma, texture and visual appearance are the driving factors in food consumption.  However each of these parameters are multi-component and interrelated. Although the subject of intense study the basis of flavour aroma and texture in potato remains unclear.  However through collaborations with the Genetics programme, who have unique germplasm segregating in organoleptic parameters, and by applying rigorous and concerted chemical, biochemical, physical and molecular biological approaches we aim to take this area forward.  Analogous studies are also being done with soft fruit.

Past research

  • April 2011-present: Enhancing Crop Productivity and Utilisation Research Theme Leader, The James Hutton Institute.
  • 2005-April 2011: Head of Plant Products and Food Quality programme, SCRI.
  • 2000-05 - Principal Investigator (Band 4), Quality Health and Nutrition programme, SCRI.
  • 1997-2000 - Senior Scientific Officer (Band 5), Unit of Industrial Crops, SCRI.
  • 1989-97 - Higher Scientific Officer (Band 6), Unit of Industrial Crops, SCRI.
  • 1987-89 - Higher Scientific Officer, SCRI (FF Project - Production of monoclonal antibodies to surface (glyco)-proteins on potato cyst nematodes).
  • 1985-87 - Research Assistant, Fisons Pharmaceuticals, Loughborough, UK.

Scientific posters/conferences

File Effect of High O2 and N2 Atmospheres on Strawberry Quality
118.75 KB
File Plant metabolomics: Addressing the scientific concerns and uncertainties of genetic modification 1.06 MB
File Rubus and Ribes: Identification of nutritional breeding targets
313.57 KB
File Plant-Nematode Interactions: Implications for the Plant Metabolome 360.6 KB
File Plant-Nematode Interactions: Implications for the Plant Metabolome 569.62 KB
File Plant-Pathogen Interactions; Implications for the Plant Metabolome
373.05 KB
File Characterisation and transgenic modification of carotenogenesis during tuber development and storage in potato 121.81 KB
File Carotenoid accumulation during potato tuber development and storage 144.79 KB
File Carotenoid accumulation during potato tuber development and storage 118.06 KB
File Use of Gas Chromatography-(Time-Of-Flight) Mass Spectrometry for Analysis of Metabolites from Solanum Species 264.52 KB
File Analysis of Metabolites from Solanum Species using Gas Chromatography-(Time-Of-Flight) Mass Spectrometry and Automated Data Analysis 269.89 KB
File Investigating and exploiting the metabolomic richness of plant germplasm
884.56 KB
File Determination Of Wood Density And Chemical Composition With Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
470.23 KB
File Can metabolomics identify unintended effects in transgenic potato tubers? 1.43 MB
File Metabolite Peak Identification and Data Structure in a Multi-Site Large Scale Metabolomics Experiment 135.02 KB
File Metabolic profiling of the response in susceptible and resistant Solanaceae to plant parasitic nematode 321.44 KB
File Metabolomics: A tool to advance food safety and toxicology 318.68 KB
File Metabolomics and its application to novel food testing 352.21 KB
File Enhancing raspberry fruit quality 136.59 KB
File Different polyphenolic components of soft fruits inhibit α-amylase and α-glucosidase 446.63 KB
File Metabolite profiling of cuticular waxes from Solanum species
361.53 KB
File Identification and Assessment of Nutritional Relevance of Antioxidant Compounds from Soft Fruit Species 95.65 KB
File Metabolomic approach to identifying bioactive compounds in berries
Advances toward fruit nutritional enhancement
297.99 KB
File Metabolomics as a platform technology for food safety and risk assessment 829.48 KB
File Botrytis cinerea perturbs redox processes as an attack strategy in plants
380.27 KB
File A Mechanistic Approach to Fruit Phytochemicals and Cancer Chemoprotection
267.4 KB
File Devolonutri - development of high throughput approaches to optimise the nutritional value of crops and crop-based foods
595.35 KB
File Metabolomics: the way forward for accelerated nutritional enhancement in soft fruit 808.29 KB
File Transcriptional and metabolic profiles of Lolium perenne L. genotypes in response to a PEG-induced water stress
1.51 MB
File Investigating the metabolomic response of Lolium Perenne to a PEG induced drought stress
335.18 KB
File Shelf-life durability of oat based products
1.1 MB
File Blackcurrant - A source of human health beneficial phytochemicals
868.03 KB
File A Mechanistic Approach to Fruit Phytochemicals and Cancer Chemoprotection
240.24 KB
File Metabolomic approach to identifying bioactive compounds in berries: Advances toward fruit nutritional enhancement 487.89 KB
File Are polyphenols viable targets for soft fruit breeding? A model study on blackcurrant 817.48 KB
File Are polyphenols viable targets for soft fruit breeding? A model study on blackcurrant 533.84 KB
File Berry Polyphenols: Bioactivities and Health Bene
5.54 MB
File Profiling of phenols in human faecal water after raspberry supplementation 1.14 MB
File Identification of polyphenol regulators of the insulin-sensitive transcription factor FOXO1a 731.1 KB
File BrainHealthFood - bioactive compounds from blackcurrant waste for brain health 601.28 KB
File Effect of Delphinidin and Resveratrol on Oxidative Stress: Impact on Endothelial Cell Survival and Vascular Function
739.32 KB
File Mechanisms by which fruit polyphenols act as cancer chemopreventive agents
1.16 MB
File Metabolomics as a route to fruit flavour and functionality: Blackcurrant as a model study 383.87 KB
File Early-response mechanisms of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) to phosphorus deficiency
683.24 KB
File Identification of polyphenol regulators of the insulin-sensitive transcription factor FOXO1a
320.55 KB

Printed from /staff/derek-stewart on 25/08/19 07:42:10 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.