Saponins from Medicago SPP.: Chemical Characterization and Biological Activity Against Insects

  • Aldo Tava
  • Miriam Odoardi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 405)


The occurrence and distribution of secondary metabolites in plants, from an ecological viewpoint, can be associated with a defensive strategy of plants against herbivores. In order to limit damage from microbes, insects, or vertebrate predation, plants have developed complex metabolic pathways to produce specific secondary compounds that are associated with defense against pests and pathogens. Complex antibiotic substances such as alkaloids and terpenes, as well as proteins such as protease inhibitors, provide inducible or constitutive defense both in woody and in herbaceous plants.


Medicagenic Acid Oleanolic Acid European Corn Borer Trichoderma Viride Saponin Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, W., 1925, A method of computing the effectivenes of an insecticide, J. Econ. Entomol. 18:265.Google Scholar
  2. Ameenuddin, S., Bird, H.R., Pringle, DJ., and Sunde, M.L., 1983, Studies on the utilization of leaf protein concentrates as a protein source in poultry nutrition, Poultry Sci. 62:505.Google Scholar
  3. Applebaum, S.W., and Birk, Y., 1979 In: Herbivores — Their Interaction with Secondary Plant Metabolites; Rosenthal, G.A. and Janzen, D.H., Eds., Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Applebaum, S.W., Marco, S., and Birk, Y., 1969, Saponins as a possible factor of resistance of legume seeds to attack of insects, J. Agric. Food Chem. 17:618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bocsa, I., 1990, Evaluation of the breeding results on low saponin content in lucerne, Proc. IXEucarpia Medicago sativa Group Meeting, Szarvas, Hungary, p. 37.Google Scholar
  6. Brawn, P.R., Lindner, N.M., Miller, J.M. and Telling, G.M., 1981, A gas chromatographic method for the determination of medicagenic acid in lucerne (alfalfa) leaf protein concentrate, J. Sei. Food Agric. 32:1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Budzikiewicz, H., Wilson, J.M. and Djerassi, C, 1963, Mass spectrometry in structural and stereochemical problems. XXXII. Pentacyclic triterpenes, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 85:3688.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheeke, P.R., 1971, Nutritional and physiological implications of saponins: a review, Can. J. Anim. Sei. 51:621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheeke, P.R., 1983, Biological properties and nutritional significance of legume saponins. In: Leaf Protein Concentrate, Telek L. & Graham H., Eds., AVI Publishing, Westport, CT, USA.Google Scholar
  10. Cheeke, RR., Kinzell, J.H., and Pedersen, M.W., 1977, Influence of saponins on alfalfa utilization by rats, rabbit and swine, /. Anim. Sei. 45:476.Google Scholar
  11. Fenwick, G.R., Price, K.R., Tsukamoto, C, and Okubo, K., 1991, Saponins. In: Toxicant Substances in Crop Plants, Felix D’Mello, J.P., Duffus, CM. & Duffus, J.H., Eds., Royal Society of Chemistry, London, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Gee, J.M., Price, K.R., Ridout, C.L., Johnson, I.T., and Fenwick, G.R., 1989, The effect of some purified saponins on transmural p.d. in mammalian small intestine, Toxicol, in vitro 3:85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jenkins, K.J., and Atwal, A.S., 1994, Effects of dietary saponins on fecal bile acids and neutral sterols, and availability of vitamin A and E in the chick, J. Nutr. Biochem. Newton 5:134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jurzysta, M., 1979, Haemolytic micromethod for rapid estimation of toxic alfalfa saponin, Acta Agrobot. 32:5.Google Scholar
  15. Jurzysta, M., 1984, Transformation of soyasapogenol B into soyasapogenols C, D and F under acidic conditions, Proc. 14th Int. Symp. Natural Products, p. 127.Google Scholar
  16. Jurzysta, M. and Jurzysta, A., 1978, Gas—liquid chromatography of trimethylsilyl ethers of soyasapogenols and medicagenic acid, J. Chromatogr. 148:517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jurzysta, M., and Nowacki, E., 1979, Saponins of the genus Medicago, Acta Agrobot. 32:13.Google Scholar
  18. Luc, CD., and Jorgensen, N.A., 1987, Alfalfa saponins affect site and extent of nutrient digestion in ruminants, J. Nutr. 117:919.Google Scholar
  19. Luc, CD., Tsai, L.S., Schaefer, D.M. and Jorgensen, N.A., 1987, Alteration of fermentation in continuous culture of mixed rumen bacteria by isolated alfalfa saponins, Dairy Sci. 70:799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Malinow, M.R., 1984, Saponins and cholesterol metabolism, Atherosclerosis 50:117.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Massiot, G., Lavaud, C, Besson, V., Le Men-Olivier, L. and Binst, G., 1991, Saponins from aerial parts of alfalfa (Medicago sativa), J. Agric. Food Chem. 39:78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Nowacka, J., and Oleszek, W, 1994, Determination of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) saponins by high—performance liquid chromatography, J. Agric. Food Chem. 42:727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oakenfull, D. and Sidhu, G.S., 1989, Saponins, In: Toxicants of Plant Origin, Cheeke, RR., Ed., CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida.Google Scholar
  24. Odoardi, M., Santelli, G., Cremona, R., Berardo. N., Stringi, L. and Giambalvo, D., 1994, Screening Atriplex halimus and Medicago arborea populations for saponin content, Proc. Eucarpia Fodder Crop Section Meeting, Brugge, Belgium, p. 103.Google Scholar
  25. Oleszek, W., 1988, Solid phase extraction-fractionation of alfalfa saponins, J. Sei. Food Agric. 44:43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Oleszek, W., and Jurzysta, M., 1986, Isolation, chemical characterization and biological activity of alfalfa (Medicago media Pers.) root saponins, Acta Soc. Bot. Pol. 55:23.Google Scholar
  27. Oleszek, W., Jurzysta, M., Ploszynski, M., Colquhoun, I.J., Price, K.R., and Fenwick, G.R., 1992, Zanhic acid tridesmoside and other dominant saponins from alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) aerial parts, J. Agric. Food Chem. 40:191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Oleszek, W., Jurzysta, M., Price, K.R., and Fenwick, G.R., 1990a, High performance liquid chromatography of alfalfa root saponins, J. Chromatogr. 519:109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oleszek, W., Price, K.R., Colquhoun, I.J., Jurzysta, M., Ploszynski, M., and Fenwick, G.R., 1990b, Isolation and identification of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) root saponins: their activity in relation to a fungal bioassay, J. Agric. Food Chem. 38:1810.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pedersen, M.W., Berrang, B., Wall, M.E., and Davis, K.H., Jr., 1973, Modification of saponin characteristics of alfalfa by selection, Crop Sci. 13:731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pedersen, M.W., and Wang, L.C., 1971, Modification of saponin content of alfalfa through selection, Crop Sci. 11:833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Piano, E., Berardo, N., Pecetti, L., Valentini, P., and Odoardi, M., 1994, Some observations on the qualitative characteristics of grazing-type lucerne, Proc. Eucarpia Fodder Crop Section Meeting, Brugge, Belgium, p. 95.Google Scholar
  33. Pracros, P., 1988, Mesure de l’activité des saponins de la lucerne par les larves du ver de la farine: Tenebrio molitor L. (Coléoptère, Tenebrionidae). I. — Comparison avec les résultats de divers test biologiques, Agronomie 8:257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Price, K.R., Fenwick, G.R. and Jurzysta, M., 1986, Soyasapogenols — separation, analysis and interconversions, J. Sei. Food Agric. 37:1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Price, K.R., Johnson, I.T., and Fenwick, G.R., 1987, The chemistry and biological significance of saponins in food and feedingstuffs, CRC Crit. Rev. Food Sei. Nutr. 26:27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rao, D. and Boris, G., 1987, Simple gas chromatographic method for the determination of medicagenic acid in alfalfa (Medicago sativa), J. Chromatogr. 410:169.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rotili, P., and Zannone, L., 1981, Alfalfa breeding for forage yield and low saponin content. Proc. XIV Int. Grassl. Congress, Lexington, KY, USA, p. 229.Google Scholar
  38. Sidhu, G.S., and Oakenfull, D.G., 1986, A mechanism for the hypocholesterolaemic activity of saponins, Br. J. Nutr. 55:643.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tava, A., Forti, D., and Odoardi, M., 1992, Alfalfa saponins: isolation, chemical characterization and biological activity against insects, Proc. XEucarpia Medicago spp Group Meeting, Lodi, Italy, p. 283.Google Scholar
  40. Tava, A., Oleszek, W, Jurzysta, M., Berardo, N., and Odoardi, M., 1993, Alfalfa saponins: isolation and quantification in two different cultivars, Phytochem. Anal. 4:269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. West, L.G., 1979, Identification of oleanolic acid from saponins present in lucerne (alfalfa) roots, J. Sci. Food Agric. 30:540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zimmer, D.E., Pedersen, M.W., and McGuire, C.F., 1967, A bioassay for alfalfa saponins using the fungus Trichoderma viride Pers., Crop Sci. 1:223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aldo Tava
    • 1
  • Miriam Odoardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto Sperimentale per le Colture ForaggereLodiItaly

Personalised recommendations