What Are Saponins?



Saponins are found in the fruit of soap berries and are natural surfactants. The saponin content in berries varies from 10 – 11.5 % depending on the species. EcoLogical Surfactants proprietary process removes and concentrates these saponins using only water and mechanical fractionation technology.

Saponins are glucosides of hydrophobic alcohols consisting of a polycyclic agylcone called a sapogenin and a sugar side chain, joined by an ether bond. Most of the naturally occurring saponins are triterpenoidal saponins. Triterpensaponin hederagenin has been identified as the major saponin in soap berries. The following saccharides and glycosides form a glycosidic linkage to hederagenin: D-glucose, D-galactose, D-fructose, D-xylose, L-arabinose, L-rhamnose, L-fucose, D-chinovos (6-desoxy-D-glucose) and the uronic acids D- glucuronic acid and D-galacturon acid. When in contact with water it provides surface activity and forms soap-like, foaming solutions. This provides the functionality of surfactants – the ability to wet, emulsify, solubilize, foam, clean, and condition.