, Volume 248, Issue 3, pp 601–612 | Cite as

Methyl jasmonate counteracts boron toxicity by preventing oxidative stress and regulating antioxidant enzyme activities and artemisinin biosynthesis in Artemisia annua L.

  • Tariq AftabEmail author
  • M. Masroor A. Khan
  • Mohd. Idrees
  • M. Naeem
  • Moinuddin
  • Nadeem Hashmi
Original Article


Boron is an essential plant micronutrient, but it is phytotoxic if present in excessive amounts in soil for certain plants such as Artemisia annua L. that contains artemisinin (an important antimalarial drug) in its areal parts. Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone with an endoperoxide bridge. It is quite expensive compound because the only commercial source available is A. annua and the compound present in the plant is in very low concentration. Since A. annua is a major source of the antimalarial drug and B stress is a deadly threat to its cultivation, the present research was conducted to determine whether the exogenous application of methyl jasmonate (MeJA) could combat the ill effects of excessive B present in the soil. According to the results obtained, the B toxicity induced oxidative stress and reduced the stem height as well as fresh and dry masses of the plant remarkably. The excessive amounts of soil B also lowered the net photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, internal CO2 concentration and total chlorophyll content in the leaves. In contrast, the foliar application of MeJA enhanced the growth and photosynthetic efficiency both in the stressed and non-stressed plants. The excessive B levels also increased the activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase, peroxidase and superoxide dismutase. Endogenous H2O2 and O 2 levels were also high in the stressed plants. However, the MeJA application to the stressed plants reduced the amount of lipid peroxidation and stimulated the synthesis of antioxidant enzymes, enhancing the content and yield of artemisinin as well. Thus, it was concluded that MeJA might be utilized in mitigating the B toxicity and improving the content and yield of artemisinin in A. annua plant.


Artemisia annua L. Artemisinin Boron Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) Reactive oxygen species (ROS) 



Authors wish to thank Mr. M. Ram (SRF-CSIR) of Jamia Hamdard (Hamdard University) for his kind help in HPLC analysis regarding artemisinin. The financial support to the first author in the form of Research Assistantship by Council of Science and Technology, UP, Lucknow (CST/D-3539) is also gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tariq Aftab
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Masroor A. Khan
    • 1
  • Mohd. Idrees
    • 1
  • M. Naeem
    • 1
  • Moinuddin
    • 1
  • Nadeem Hashmi
    • 1
  1. 1.Plant Physiology Section, Department of BotanyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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