Malaria drug made by baker's yeast | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.

News in Brief

Malaria drug made by baker's yeast

Fermentation process could become important new production method for artemisinin

12:30pm, April 11, 2013

Using genetically engineered baker’s yeast, researchers have come up with a shortcut to making artemisinin, a frontline drug against malaria. Christopher Paddon of Amyris Inc. of Emeryville, Calif., and his colleagues describe their process April 10 in Nature.  

Last year the team reported that they could ferment the bioengineered yeast to make amorphadiene, a precursor of artemisinic acid. In the new study, they improve the yield of the precursor and then spell out a process for converting artemisinic acid to artemisinin itself. The researchers say the overall strategy could streamline artemisinin manufacturing.

Artemisinin, which the sweet wormwood plant produces in its leaves, is an ancient malaria remedy. In recent years, artemisinin-based drugs have become mainstays against the parasite when combined with another drug (SN: 6/16/2007, p. 381). Current artemisinin production requires growing the plants for m

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Chemistry articles

From the Nature Index Paid Content