An improved liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) protocol for rapid analysis of co-metabolites of A. annua in raw extracts was developed and extensively characterized. The new method was used to analyse metabolic profiles of 13 varieties of A. annua from an in-field growth programme in Madagascar. Several multivariate data analysis techniques consistently show the association of artemisinin with dihydroartemisinic acid. These data support the hypothesis of dihydroartemisinic acid being the late stage precursor to artemisinin in its biosynthetic pathway.
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