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The biological action of saponins in animal systems: a review

  • George Francis (a1), Zohar Kerem (a2), Harinder P. S. Makkar (a3) and Klaus Becker (a1)
Abstract

Saponins are steroid or triterpenoid glycosides, common in a large number of plants and plant products that are important in human and animal nutrition. Several biological effects have been ascribed to saponins. Extensive research has been carried out into the membrane-permeabilising, immunostimulant, hypocholesterolaemic and anticarcinogenic properties of saponins and they have also been found to significantly affect growth, feed intake and reproduction in animals. These structurally diverse compounds have also been observed to kill protozoans and molluscs, to be antioxidants, to impair the digestion of protein and the uptake of vitamins and minerals in the gut, to cause hypoglycaemia, and to act as antifungal and antiviral agents. These compounds can thus affect animals in a host of different ways both positive and negative.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Professor Dr K. Becker, fax +49 711 4593702, email kbecker@uni-hohenheim.de
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A Marston , JL Wolfender & K Hostettmann (2000) Analysis and isolation of saponins from plant material. In Saponins in Food, Feedstuffs and Medicinal Plants, Annual Proceedings of the Phytochemical Society, pp. 112 [ W Oleszek and A Marston , editors]. Oxford and London: Clarendon Press.

AD Muir , KD Ballantyne & TW Hall (2000) LC-MS and LC-MS/MS analysis of saponins and sapogenins – comparison of ionization techniques and their usefulness in compound identification. In Saponins in Food, Feedstuffs and Medicinal Plants, Annual Proceedings of the Phytochemical Society, pp. 3542 [ W Oleszek and A Marston , editors]. Oxford and London: Clarendon Press

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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
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