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Reminiscenses of a cinchona hunter


, : Reminiscenses of a cinchona hunter. Nat Hist [New York] 57(1): 8-15, 41

With a wartime crisis in quinine, the U. S. Office of Econ. Warfare sent field parties to S. America to search the eastern slopes of the Andes for wild cinchona trees, to determine the type of trees present, to estimate the quality and quantity of bark available, and to give suggestions for the best method for its quick exploitation. Spp. having about 8% or less of quinine sulfate in the bark are pitayo bark (Cinchona macrocalyx), cuprea bark (Remijia spp.), red bark (C. succirubra) and C. calisaya, from which the 15% quinine-bearing Java strains were developed. The gray barks called "huanuca" and "monopol" (C. micrantha) of Peru did not produce an ounce of quinine in its bark, but it was rich in cinchonine, an alkaloid valued in the manufacture of totaquine. A small map shows the distribution of cinchona trees. The frequency of occurrence of each species on the daily traverses, when tallied by diameter classes, made it possible to get a rough estimate of the amount of bark available in the region. The commercial worthwhileness of operating a new area is detd. by the local costs of harvesting and transporting the dry bark.

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