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

Protoplasma. 2011 Jul;248(3):601-12. doi: 10.1007/s00709-010-0218-5. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


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 CO(2) 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 H(2)O(2) 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / pharmacology*
  • Artemisia annua / chemistry
  • Artemisia annua / drug effects*
  • Artemisia annua / metabolism
  • Artemisinins / metabolism*
  • Boron / toxicity*
  • Cyclopentanes / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxylipins / pharmacology*


  • Acetates
  • Artemisinins
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • methyl jasmonate
  • Boron