Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Fun: Artemisinin on NPR

NPR Story

2012 Keasling lab article in PNAS

Wikipedia: Artemisinin


  1. I think the point the point the radio announcer was trying to make is that the technology needed to produce sesquiterpene-based biofuels is essentially the same as the technology used to make amorphadiene.
    It is possible to make artemisinin from amorphadiene biosynthetically (artemisia annua does, and there are engineered microbes that can), but in practice it turns out to be more efficient to do those steps synthetically.

    1. Oh, certainly. All of the Keasling papers engineer up to dihydroartemisinic acid, and then semi-synthesize from there.

      My quarrel was with the word "drug" in his quote. Put that way, it makes it sound like artemisinin and diesel are quite similar, when in reality he meant the precursors can both fall out of terpene biosynthesis.