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Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2006)

Characterization of desert date (balanites aegyptiaca) saponins and their biological activities

Chapagain, Bishnu P

Titre : Characterization of desert date (balanites aegyptiaca) saponins and their biological activities

Auteur : Chapagain, Bishnu P

Université de soutenance : Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2006

Résumé partiel
The desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca L.) is an evergreen tree belonging to the Zygophyllaceae family. It is mainly grown in the arid regions of Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Israel is considered the Northern-most hemisphere where Balanites trees grow naturally. In Israel, Balanites is found growing naturally in the Ein-Gedi Oasis, the Arava rift Valley, and Bet-Shean valley. Balanites has multi-use potential—from ethnomedicine to fire wood. Various parts of this plant have been used for many folk medicines in Africa and Asia. Early studies have shown that the saponin compounds are the main attributer behind its ethno-medicinal uses. Balanites oil is considered to be a good source for cosmetics and it was found to be used by ancient Egyptian royalty. Furthermore, Balanites is highly adapted to the arid regions where no other trees have adapted to the harsh arid conditions. In spite of the multi-use potential and ecological significance, Balanites is the most neglected tree species in the arid regions and the plant has not yet been domesticated. Saponins belong to a complex and chemically diverse group of compounds which derive their name from their ability to form stable, soap-like foam in aqueous solutions. In plants, saponins play a role as secondary metabolites and assigned for defense mechanism. In chemical terms, saponins contain a carbohydrate moiety attached to a triterpenoid or steroid aglycone. Saponins are currently attracting considerable interest as a result of their diverse beneficial properties. Recent studies have suggested that saponins affect the immune system in ways that help to protect the human body against cancers, and also lower cholesterol levels. Saponins decrease blood lipids, lower cancer risks, and lower blood glucose response. With increasing demand for pharmacological and nutritive values for the saponins and sapogenin, alternate sources of saponins are sought. Until now, diosgenin and related steroidal saponins have been obtained commercially from the tubers of various Dioscorea species, however it is crucial to discover new and alternative sources of t

Mots Clés : Dates (Fruit) — Saponins in agriculture.

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