Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 1-9

Saponin production from Quillaja genus species. An insight into its applications and biology

Guerra, FernandoSepúlveda, Sebastián

Quillaja genus (Quillajaceae family) is endemic to South America, where is represented by two species, Quillaja saponaria and Quillaja brasiliensis. One outstanding characteristic of these forest tree species is their production of saponins, a family of amphipathic glycosides, involved in the defensive response of plants against biotic and abiotic factors. Saponins are metabolites of economic importance due to their chemical and physical properties. Basic and applied research efforts performed during the last decades, mainly on Q. saponaria, have placed these compounds as an important raw material in industrial areas, such as food and beverage, cosmetics, vaccine production, biopesticides, among others. In this review, we summarize information on saponins from Quillaja species during the last years, analyzing current developments by application areas, as well as their chemical composition and properties. We also describe the general advances in revealing saponin biosynthesis pathways, related genes and Quillaja genomes, as well as the conservation status, domestication processes, and perspectives in the context of implementing genetic improvement programs.(AU)

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