Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Biotransformation of artemisinin to a novel derivative via ring rearrangement by Aspergillus niger.

Luo, Jiaer; Mobley, Rebecca; Woodfine, Sian; Drijfhout, Falko; Horrocks, Paul; Ren, Xiao-Dong; Li, Wen-Wu

Biotransformation of artemisinin to a novel derivative via ring rearrangement by Aspergillus niger. Thumbnail


Jiaer Luo

Rebecca Mobley

Sian Woodfine

Xiao-Dong Ren


Artemisinin is a component part of current frontline medicines for the treatment of malaria. The aim of this study is to make analogues of artemisinin using microbial transformation and evaluate their in vitro antimalarial activity. A panel of microorganisms were screened for biotransformation of artemisinin (1). The biotransformation products were extracted, purified and isolated using silica gel column chromatography and semi-preparative HPLC. Spectroscopic methods including LC-HRMS, GC-MS, FT-IR, 1D and 2D NMR were used to elucidate the structure of the artemisinin metabolites.H-1 NMR spectroscopy was further used to study the time-course biotransformation. The antiplasmodial activity (IC50) of the biotransformation products of 1 against intraerythrocytic cultures of Plasmodium falciparum were determined using bioluminescence assays. A filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger CICC 2487 was found to possess the best efficiency to convert artemisinin (1) to a novel derivative, 4-methoxy-9,10-dimethyloctahydrofuro-(3,2-i)-isochromen-11(4H)-one (2) via ring rearrangement and further degradation, along with three known derivatives, compound (3), deoxyartemisinin (4) and 3-hydroxy-deoxyartemisinin (5). Kinetic study of the biotransformation of artemisinin indicated the formation of artemisinin G as a key intermediate which could be hydrolyzed and methylated to form the new compound 2. Our study shows that the anti-plasmodial potency of compounds 2, 3, 4 and 5 were ablated compared to 1, which attributed to the loss of the unique peroxide bridge in artemisinin (1). This is the first report of microbial degradation and ring rearrangement of artemisinin with subsequent hydrolysis and methoxylation by A.niger.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 19, 2022
Publication Date Mar 31, 2022
Journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Print ISSN 0175-7598
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 106
Pages 2433-2444
Keywords Biotransformation, Artemisinin, Kinetics, Aspergillus niger, Anti-plasmodial activity
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations