Integrating medicinal plants extraction into a high-value biorefinery: an example of Artemisia annua L

A A Lapkin, Eba Adou, Benhilda N. Mlambo, Smain Chemat, John Suberu, Alana E. C. Collis, Andrew Clark, Guy Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A principle of biorefining is extended to medicinal plants with the view of developing a more sustainable business model for biomass producers and extractors. This is demonstrated for Artemisia annua L. currently cultivated or harvested in the wild for extraction of a single compound, artemisinin, comprising on average 1 wt% dry weight of the plant biomass. We scaled extraction of artemisinin by a non-toxic to bacterial fermentation solvent tetrafluoroethane to a 5 L pilot scale. We identified a number of co-metabolites that could be extracted from the plant along with artemisinin and describe the multi-step extraction-fractionation sequence that potentially could be transferred to a large-scale multi-step extraction process. We also show possible routes to higher-value compounds on the basis of A. annua secondary metabolites, exemplified by the conversion of flavonoids to monomers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages9
JournalComptes Rendus Chimie
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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