Surface activity and foaming properties of saponin-rich plants extracts

Ilona Góral , Kamil Wojciechowski


Saponins are amphiphilic glycosidic secondary metabolites produced by numerous plants. So far only few of them have been thoroughly analyzed and even less have found industrial applications as biosurfactants. In this contribution we screen 45 plants from different families, reported to be rich in saponins, for their surface activity and foaming properties. For this purpose, the room-temperature aqueous extracts (macerates) from the alleged saponin-rich plant organs were prepared and spray-dried under the same conditions, in presence of sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as preservatives and drying aids. For 15 selected plants, the extraction was also performed using hot water (decoction for 15 min) but high temperature in most cases deteriorated surface activity of the extracts. To our knowledge, for most of the extracts this is the first quantitative report on their surface activity. Among the tested plants, only 3 showed the ability to reduce surface tension of their solutions by more than 20 mN/m at 1% dry extract mass content. The adsorption layers forming spontaneously on the surface of these extracts showed a broad range of surface dilational rheology responses – from null to very high, with surface dilational elasticity modulus, E′ in excess of 100 mN/m for 5 plants. In all cases the surface dilational response was dominated by the elastic contribution, typical for saponins and other biosurfactants. Almost all extracts showed the ability to froth, but only 32 could sustain the foam for more than 1 min (for 11 extracts the foams were stable during at least 10 min). In general, the ability to lower surface tension and to produce adsorbed layers with high surface elasticity did not correlate well with the ability to form and sustain the foam. Based on the overall characteristics, Saponaria officinalis L. (soapwort), Avena sativa L. (oat), Aesculus hippocastanum L. (horse chestnut), Chenopodium quinoa Willd. (quinoa), Vaccaria hispanica (Mill.) Rauschert (cowherb) and Glycine max (L.) Merr. (soybean) are proposed as the best potential sources of saponins for surfactant applications in natural cosmetic and household products.

Author Ilona Góral (FC / CMB)
Ilona Góral,,
- Chair of Medical Biotechnology
, Kamil Wojciechowski (FC / CMB)
Kamil Wojciechowski,,
- Chair of Medical Biotechnology
Journal seriesAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science, ISSN 0001-8686, e-ISSN 1873-3727
Issue year2020
Pages102145_1 - 102145_20
Publication size in sheets0.95
Article number102145
ASJC Classification1505 Colloid and Surface Chemistry; 1606 Physical and Theoretical Chemistry; 3110 Surfaces and Interfaces
Languageen angielski
1-s2.0-S000186862030049X-main.pdf 4.98 MB
Score (nominal)200
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 200.0, 07-08-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus Citations = 1; Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 2.603; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 8.243 (2) - 2018=9.259 (5)
Citation count*
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?