The content of artemisinin from Artemisia annua Linn plants grown in different geographical regions of Uganda was investigated. Two analytical methods; high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and an ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometric analytical procedure were used and the results were compared. The HPLC method was modified and revalidated before it was used for analysis of the plant samples. The spectrophotometric procedure was used without modification. Seven districts including Kapchorwa, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kabarole, Wakiso, Rakai and Rukungiri were selected for the study. With both methods, higher content of artemisinin was obtained in plant samples from Kapchorwa (1.2%, w/w, HPLC) and Kabale (1.4%, w/w, HPLC) than in samples from Kaberamaido (0.47%, w/w, HPLC) and Wakiso (0.36%, w/w, HPLC). In the other districts, the content varied between 0.57 and 0.93%, w/w. Fortunately, even the low content of artemisinin that was observed in Kaberamaido and Wakiso compared very well with values reported in other parts of the world where the plant is widely grown for commercial and for experimental purposes. This suggested that Ugandan soils are adequately suitable for commercial production of A. annua.
Key words: Artemisia annua, content of artemisinin, geographical region, Uganda, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy.
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