ASA Southern Branch 2007 Annual Meeting
February 4-6, 2007
Mobile, AL

Monday, 5 February 2007 - 8:45 AM

Factors Affecting the Growth and Secondary Metabolism of Medicinal Plants.

Andrew Maxwell Phineas Jones, Mississippi State, North Mississippi Res. & Ext. Center, 5421 Highway 145 South, Verona, MS 38879 and Valtcho D. Zheljazkov, Mississippi State, North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, 5421 S Hwy 145, Verona, MS 38879.

            The growth and production of biologically active secondary metabolites of medicinal plants is highly variable and influenced by many factors.  In order to cultivate medicinal plants that consistently contain sufficient levels of active compounds it is pivotal that we investigate these factors.  This project will be conducted to evaluate the effect of climate and exogenous application of various natural and synthetic compounds on the growth and secondary metabolism of medicinal plants.  Artemisia annua L. (sweet wormwood), Datura innoxia Mill. (thorn apple), Matricaria recutita L. (German chamomile), Podophyllum peltatum L. (American mayapple) and Tanacetum parthenium L. Schultz-Bip. (feverfew) will be grown in three climates representative of agriculturally important regions of Mississippi.  The field locations will be in Verona, Stoneville, and Crystal Springs.  The effect of climate on plant growth and secondary metabolism will be evaluated based on plant survival, plant height, fresh/dry mass as well as chemical composition.  In another experiment plant promoters will be exogenously applied to D. innoxia and A. annua plants in the greenhouse at three concentrations.  The three most effective compounds from the greenhouse experiment will be used to treat all six species in field conditions.  This project will increase our understanding regarding the effect of climatic factors on the growth and secondary metabolism of medicinal plants.  It will also provide insight into the potential of various chemical agents to enhance medicinally active secondary metabolite production.  Overall it is hoped that this research will provide information to improve our ability to cultivate high quality botanical medicine.   


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