MENSAH, Robert

Robert Mensah

Research interests

  • Development of botanical (semiochemical) products for IPM programs
  • Development of Microbial biopesticide products for IPM programs
  • Conservation biological control
  • Ecology/ population dynamics and Insect – plant interactions


Australian cotton farmers have achieved substantial reductions in insecticide use from their adoption of transgenic cotton technology to control the major pest, Helicoverpa spp. However they now face problems associated with a wider range of insect pests that were once secondary pests and incidentally controlled, such as green mirids, cotton aphids, white flies, green vegetable bugs and two-spotted mites. These pests have few insecticide options available for their control, forcing ongoing use of older, broad-spectrum insecticides that are likely to face increased regulatory scrutiny and environmental pollution. Reliance on limited insecticide options can also create other problems by destroying beneficial insects and causing pests to become resistant over time. Thus, there is an urgent need to investigate and develop new alternatives such as pesticides derived from natural materials (biopesticides) and semiochemicals that mediate interactions between organisms.

Dr Robert Mensah has 26 years’ experience (22 in cotton research) in the development of integrated pest management (IPM) products and strategies for use in cotton and other broad acre crops in Australia, Africa and Asia. Robert was appointed to DPI on 21 July 1992. He was a Technical Specialist in integrated pest management (IPM) on cotton for the World Bank in Xinjiang Province of China and Gatsby Trust in Tanzania from 2004 - 2015. He is currently an IPM Technical Specialist for the Pesticide Action Network of the United Kingdom (PAN-UK), Ethiopia and Benin.

Robert’s research has developed and collaborated with agricultural companies in Australia and overseas to develop, register and commercialize new biological pesticide products for use by farmers in IPM programs. He developed (1) Beneficial insect attractant spray product (Envirofeast®) with Rhone-Poulenc in 1995; Petroleum Spray Oil product (Canopy® oil) with Caltex Pty Ltd in 2004; and has currently developed and collaborated with Innovate Agriculture Pty Ltd to commercialize an insect behaviour modifying product (called Sero X®) that can be used to control sucking pests on cotton, macadamias and other agricultural crops. Sero X® is the first commercialized botanical product in Australia.

His research has contributed to improving the sustainability and economic viability of the Australian cotton industry. He was the Australian Cotton Industry Researcher of the Year in 1997 and has been nominated again for the 2017 Cotton Researcher of the Year Award.


2005: University of Tasmania Foundation Graduate Award

1991: PhD (School of Agriculture) University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

1985: Postgraduate Certificate in Pest Management, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Kenya.

1982:  BSc (Hons) Agriculture, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana


  • Ecology, behaviour and population dynamics of pests and beneficial insects on cotton and other crops
  • Development of botanicals and fungal biopesticide products for IPM against cotton pests
  • Conservation biocontrol of cotton pests

Recent publications

  • Refereed journal articles - 90
  • Confidential patent articles - 12
  • Final/Annual reports of projects - 18
  • International Mission Reports - 35
  • Supervisor: PhD student thesis - 12
  • Conference articles and bulletins/International - 97
  • Conference symposia articles - 19
  • Grower articles - 89         

A full list of Dr Mensah’s publications is available at

1.    WILLIAMSON, S and MENSAH, R. K. (2016). Using the Food spray method to enhance Biological Control in Cotton: A Trainers Guide. A production of Pesticide Action Network-UK, The Brighthel Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD, United Kingdom. Editors: S. Williamson;, 188 pages

2.    MENSAH, R. K., LEACH, D, YOUNG, A, WATTS, N., and GLENNIE, P. (2015).Development of Clitorea ternatea as a biopesticide for cotton pest management: assessment of product effect on Helicoverpa spp. and their natural enemies.Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 154, 131-145.

3.    MENSAH, R. K., YOUNG, A and ROOD-ENGLAND, L. (2015). Development of a Microbial-Based Integrated Pest Management Program for Helicoverpa spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and beneficial Insects on Conventional Cotton Crops in Australia. Swiss International Journal of Insects 6, 333-351.

5.    MENSAH, R. K., YOUNG, A and ROOD-ENGLAND, L. (2015). Development of a Microbial-Based Integrated Pest Management Program for Helicoverpa spp. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and beneficial Insects on Conventional Cotton Crops in Australia. Swiss International Journal of Insects 6, 333-351.

6.    MENSAH, R. K., MOORE, C., WATTS, N., DESEO, M., GLENNIE, P. and ANGELA PITT (2014). Discovery and development of a new semiochemical biopesticide for cotton pest management: assessment of extract effects on the cotton pest Helicoverpaspp. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 152, 1-15

Contact details

Phone: (02) 6799 1525
Location: Australian Cotton Research Institute, Narrabri