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Saponin Glycosides: 

Mr. Vijay Singh Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 1 Saponin Glycosides

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Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 2 A group of plant glycosides known as saponins share in varying degrees, two common characteristics: (a) They foam in aqueous solution. (b) They cause haemolysis of red blood cells. The aglycones of the saponins are collectively referred to as Sapogenins . The more poisonous saponins are often called Sapotoxins .

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Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 3 Plant materials containing saponins have long been used in many parts of the world for their detergent properties for example, in Europe, the root of Saponaria officinalis (Fam. Caryophyllaceae ) in South America, the bark of Quillaia saponaria (Fam. Rosaceae ). Such plants contain a high percentage of the glycosides known as saponins (Latin Sapo , means Soap) which are characterized by their property of producing a frothing aqueous solution.

Properties :: 

Properties : Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 4 Saponins form colloidal solution in water (hydrophilic colloids) which froths upon shaking. These substances modify and lower the surface tension and therefore foam when shaken. This has led to their use to increase the foaming of beer. Practical industrial applications of saponins include their use in cleaning industrial equipment and fine fabrics and as powerful emulsifiers of certain resins, fats and fixed oils.

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Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 5 In general, they have a bitter, acrid taste and drugs containing them are usually sternutatory (causing or producing sneezing) and irritating to the mucous membranes of eyes and nose. Characteristic for all saponins is their ability to cause haemolysis of red blood corpuscles and to destroy them. When injected into the blood stream, they are highly toxic. When taken by mouth, Saponins are comparatively harmless, being not absorbed from the intestinal tract. Sarsaparilla , for example, is rich in saponins but is widely used in the preparation of non ­ alcoholic beverages.

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Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 6 Saponins are toxic especially to cold-blooded animals e.g. frogs. Many are used as fish-poisons. The actual cause of the haemolysis : The red blood cells carry sterols in their membranes, and when brought into contact with saponins , the sterols of the RBCs are precipitated and the colloidal chemical properties of the membrane are so altered as to give hemoglobin passage to the surrounding medium. Saponins have a high molecular weight and their isolation in a state of purity presents some difficulties.

Structure of Saponins :: 

Structure of Saponins : Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 7 According to the structure of the aglycone or sapogenin , two kinds of saponin are recognized: The steroidal type (commonly tetracyclic triterpenoids , C-27). The triterpenoid type ( pentacyclic triterpenoids , C-30). Both of these have a glycosidal linkage at C-3 and have a common biosynthetic origin via mevalonic acid and isoprene units.

A. Steroidal saponins: 

A. Steroidal saponins Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 8 The steroidal saponins are less widely distributed in nature than the pentacyclic triterpenoid type. Steroidal saponins are of great pharmaceutical importance because of their relationship to compounds such as the sex hormones, cortisone, diuretic steroids, vitamin D and the cardiac glycosides. Examples: Diosgenin (Dioscorea sylvatica), Sarsapogenin (Smilax sp.).

B. Pentacyclic triterpenoid saponins: 

B. Pentacyclic triterpenoid saponins Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 9 Triterpenoid saponins my be classified into three groups represented by α - amyrin , β - amyrin and lupeol . Examples: Primulagenin ( Primula sp.), Quillaiac acid ( Quillaia saponaria ) and Glycyrrhetinic acid ( Glycyrrhiza sp.).

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Suresh Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur 10 Thank You