Project ESR13: Substitution and adulteration of complexes of medicinal roots.

PhD Fellow: Vincent Manzanilla

Supervision: Dr. Anneleen Kool

Host Institution: Natural History Museum, University of Oslo

Co-supervisors: Dr. Hugo de Boer, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo; Gary Martin, Global Diversity Foundation (AC2).

This project will investigate substitution and adulteration of complexes of medicinal roots as for example Anacylus, Daucus, Plantago (ESR4) and Thapsia (ESR3) traded in the markets of Southern Morocco.

About the project
The Moroccan traditional herbal medicine is very popular but threated by the increase of demands. To preserve the traditional livelihood, the identification and conservation of medicinal plants are fundamental. Plant identification using genetic methods (barcoding) is widely established. However, limited attempts have been done for the identification of medicinal plants. This project will aim to design a genetics/bioinformatics methods based on metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing to identify with accuracy medicinal plants used within the Moroccan traditional medicine.

In parallel, getting information on the medicinal plants from the local populations is an important aspect of the identification work. The ethnoclassification learned from herbalists and collectors will be valuable information for the plant conservation.
The goal of the study is to preserve wild populations of medicinal plants in order to find a sustainable use of traditional medicine.

Duration: 3 years – start March 1st 2014.