Author(s): Kapoor R, Chaudhary V, Bhatnagar AK
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Abstract Annual wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) produces an array of complex terpenoids including artemisinin, a compound of current interest in the treatment of drug-resistant malaria. However, this promising antimalarial compound remains expensive and is hardly available on the global scale. Synthesis of artemisinin has not been proved to be feasible commercially. Therefore, increase in yield of naturally occurring artemisinin is an important area of investigation. The effects of inoculation by two arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, Glomus macrocarpum and Glomus fasciculatum, either alone or supplemented with P-fertilizer, on artemisinin concentration in A. annua were studied. The concentration of artemisinin was determined by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with UV detection. The two fungi significantly increased concentration of artemisinin in the herb. Although there was significant increase in concentration of artemisinin in nonmycorrhizal P-fertilized plants as compared to control, the extent of the increase was less compared to mycorrhizal plants grown with or without P-fertilization. This suggests that the increase in artemisinin concentration may not be entirely attributed to enhanced P-nutrition and improved growth. A strong positive linear correlation was observed between glandular trichome density on leaves and artemisinin concentration. Mycorrhizal plants possessed higher foliar glandular trichome (site for artemisinin biosynthesis and sequestration) density compared to nonmycorrhizal plants. Glandular trichome density was not influenced by P-fertilizer application. The study suggests a potential role of AM fungi in improving the concentration of artemisinin in A. annua.
This article was published in Mycorrhiza
and referenced in Natural Products Chemistry & Research