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Survey of artemisinin production by diverse Artemisia species in northern Pakistan

Abdul Mannan13*, Ibrar Ahmed14, Waheed Arshad1, Muhammad F Asim1, Rizwana A Qureshi2, Izhar Hussain3 and Bushra Mirza1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

2 Department of Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

3 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan

4 Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Malaria Journal 2010, 9:310  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-310

Published: 4 November 2010



Artemisinin is the current drug of choice for treatment of malaria and a number of other diseases. It is obtained from the annual herb, Artemisia annua and some microbial sources by genetic engineering. There is a great concern that the artemisinin production at current rate will not meet the increasing demand by the pharmaceutical industry, so looking for additional sources is imperative.


In current study, artemisinin concentration was analysed and compared in the flowers, leaves, roots and stems of Artemisia annua and 14 other Artemisia species including two varieties each for Artemisia roxburghiana and Artemisia dracunculus using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


The highest artemisinin concentration was detected in the leaves (0.44 ± 0.03%) and flowers (0.42 ± 0.03%) of A. annua, followed by the flowers (0.34 ± .02%) of A. bushriences and leaves (0.27 ± 0%) of A. dracunculus var dracunculus. The average concentration of artemisinin varied in the order of flowers > leaves > stems > roots.


This study identifies twelve novel plant sources of artemisinin, which may be helpful for pharmaceutical production of artemisinin. This is the first report of quantitative comparison of artemisinin among a large number of Artemisia species.