Professor Tariq Butt

Personal Chair, Biosciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 295374

Email address

Academic Office - 142
First Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

Research Institutes

Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Professor Butt leads the Biocontrol and Natural Products (BANP) group at Swansea University which develops biopesticides from natural products for the control of invertebrate pests that impact on food security, tree health, and human and animal health. He is also co-lead of the Natural Products BioHub and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for Health Technology Solutions.

Prof Butt has developed biopesticides (semiochemicals, microbial biocontrol agents) for pest control. His “know how” is used by industry in product development or registration. Some of his IP has been licensed to industry. He also develops innovative pest control strategies which enhance overall pest control. He is also active in “prospecting” for lead compounds from natural sources to develop as therapeutics, nutraceuticals or agrichemicals.  Some of the compounds have been patented.

Prof Butt has managed numerous projects funded by different sponsors, including RCUK, Defra, Royal Society, Welsh Government, British Council, EU, and industry. His research benefits many sectors (e.g. agriculture, horticulture, forestry, human and animal health). He conducts both fundamental and applied research. His fundamental research has demonstrated the importance of both immune and stress management genes in protecting insects against fungal pathogens. He is, however, best known for his work on entomopathogenic fungi (EPF).  He has helped industry in the development of these natural, widespread fungi for the control of arthropod pests of socioeconomic importance.  The work is timely, as EPF offer an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides many (>80%) of which have been withdrawn or restricted in use. 

Prof Butt has published over 174 refereed papers in high-ranking journals, 14 book chapters and edited 2 books. He is often invited to give talks at international scientific meetings and has helped organise several scientific conferences. He engages with numerous industries. His networking events have led to new collaborations, consolidation of supply chains and development of new products. He produced high scoring REF Impact case studies for REF2014 and REF2021.

Prof Butt works closely with government agencies on matters related to the risk assessment and registration of biopesticides. He is a member the UK Governments expert committee on pesticides.

Career Highlights


Prof Butt leads the Biocontrol and Natural Products (BANP) Group (see He is active in a number of cross disciplinary research activities including:

Development of Biopesticides

  • EPF for control of crop pests
  • EPF for control of vectors of human and animal diseases
  • Semiochemicals (attractants, repellents) for pest monitoring and control
  • Strategies enhancing biopesticide efficacy in IPM programmes

Development of EPF as Biostimulants

  • Stimulating plant growth, helping reduce input of chemical fertilizers
  • Increasing plant resilience to biotic (e.g. pathogens) and abiotic (e.g. heavy metals, salinity) stress
  • Elucidating underlying mechanisms in multitrophic interactions

Risk Assessment of EPF

  • Determining fate of inoculum in the environment
  • Identifying and monitoring EPF metabolites
  • Determine impact of EPF on non-target invertebrates
  • Determining compatibility of EPF with beneficial invertebrates (bees, entomopathogenic nematodes, insect predators)

Evaluating bioactive compounds from natural sources.

  • Developed thrips attractant based on plant compounds. A product has been commercialised and sold worldwide.
  • Identified and patented plant compounds with Rentokil Ltd which are highly effective in repelling mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Identified and patented fungal derived compounds as novo fumigants (killing insects, nematodes, molluscs). Two patents filed by Certis Belchim.