|Aftab, Tarik -|
|Khan, Masroor -|
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by different species of Plasmodium. It is the world’s most severe parasitic infection and kills almost two million people a year, afflicting more than one-third of the global population. The burden of malaria has increased by the worldwide spread of multi-drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Artemisia annua L. has been used for centuries in Chinese traditional medicine for the treatment of fever and malaria, and is the only commercial source of artemisinin, a rare sesquiterpene lactone that is the only safe alternative therapy against multi-drug-resistant malaria. Because the chemical synthesis of artemisinin is very costly, the plant remains the only viable source of artemisinin for pharmacological use. Therefore, the enhanced production of artemisinin content in the whole plant is highly desirable. Although artemisinin production in planta is controlled mostly by genetic factors, the plant reacts to certain abiotic stresses by increasing artemisinin concentration. In the past 15 years, selection has increased artemisinin concentration in the plant from 0.3-0.5% (g/100g) to 1.0 – 1.8%. However, artemisinin increase is still possible by applying selected stresses to the plant. In the present chapter we are reviewing the various abiotic factors which affect biomass and artemisinin production of A. annua.