Structural Formula Vector Image
Title: Saponins
Literature References: Sapogenin glycosides. A type of glycoside widely distributed in plants. Each saponin consists of a sapogenin which constitutes the aglucon moiety of the molecule, and a sugar. The sapogenin may be a steroid or a triterpene and the sugar moiety may be glucose, galactose, a pentose, or a methylpentose. Poisonous towards the lower forms of life and used for killing fish by the aborigines of South America. Review and bibliography: R. J. McIlroy, The Plant Glycosides (Edward Arnold & Co., London, 1951) Chapter IX; Y. Birk, I. Peri in Toxic Const. Plant Foodst., I. E. Liener, Ed. (Academic Press, New York, 2nd ed., 1980) pp 161-182.
Properties: Bitter taste. All saponins foam strongly when shaken with water. They form oil-in-water emulsions and act as protective colloids.
CAUTION: Although practically non-toxic to man upon oral ingestion, they act as powerful hemolytics when injected into the blood stream, dissolving the red corpuscles even at extreme dilutions.

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