The key difference between saponin and sapogenin is that saponins possess surface-active or detergent properties, whereas sapogenins are fat-soluble compounds.
Saponin and sapogenin compounds are important organic compounds. Sapogenin is a member of the family of saponin compounds. Saponin is a bitter-tasting, toxic, plant-derived organic chemical having a foamy quality upon agitation in water. Sapogenin compounds are aglycones or non-saccharides and can be described as portions of the family of natural products known as saponins.
What is Saponin?
Saponin is a bitter-tasting, toxic, plant-derived organic chemical having a foamy quality upon agitation in water. This term represents a set of triterpene glycosides. We can find these compounds widely distributed, but they are found particularly in soapwort (a flowering plant) and soapbark tree. These plants and their parts are used in making soaps, medicine, fire extinguishers, dietary supplements, etc., for the synthesis of steroids and carbonated beverages.
When considering its chemical structure, saponin compounds resemble glycosides. Glycosides are sugars that are bound to other organic molecules, such as a steroid or triterpene. Typically, saponin compounds are water-soluble and fat-soluble. These properties give soap their useful properties. E.g., glycyrrhizin, licorice flavoring, and quillaia.
There are many uses of saponins. These compounds have amphoteric nature. It gives the activity as surfactants with the potential ability to interact with cell membrane components, including cholesterol and phospholipids. This possibly makes saponin compounds useful for the development of cosmetics and drugs. These compounds are also used as adjuvants in the development of vaccines that are directed against intracellular pathogens.
There are several hypolipidemic properties of saponin that makes them useful in some biological functions. For example, they can reduce cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels. They can also be helpful in the treatment of dyslipidemia. Moreover, saponin compounds show cytotoxic effects on cancer cells via induction of apoptosis.
What is Sapogenin?
Sapogenin compounds are aglycones or non-saccharides that can be described as portions of the family of natural products known as saponins. Usually, sapogenins consist of steroid or other triterpene frameworks because of their key organic features.
For instance, there are steroidal sapogenins such as tiggenin, neogitigenin, and tokorogenin. These compounds have been isolated from the tubers of Chlorophytum arundinaceous. There are some steroidal sapogenins that can serve as a practical starting point for the semi-synthesis of some particular steroid hormones. Moreover, we can give diosgenin and hecogenin as other examples of sapogenins.
What is the Difference Between Saponin and Sapogenin?
Saponin and sapogenin are important organic chemical compounds. The key difference between saponin and sapogenin is that saponins possess surface-active or detergent properties due to their water-soluble or fat-soluble nature, whereas sapogenins are fat-soluble compounds. There are different uses of saponins and sapogenins. Saponin is used in making soaps, medicinals, fire extinguishers, dietary supplements, etc., while sapogenin is used in producing cortisone and contraceptive drugs.
The below infographic presents the differences between saponin and sapogenin in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Saponin vs Sapogenin
Saponin is a bitter, toxic compound present in plants, which makes foam when shaken with water. Sapogenin compounds, on the other hand, are aglycones or non-saccharides of saponins. The key difference between saponin and sapogenin is that saponins possess surface-active or detergent properties, whereas sapogenins are fat-soluble compounds.
1. “Sapogenin.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.