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J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Sep;47(9):3685-7.

Determination and toxicity of saponins from Amaranthus cruentus seeds.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, ul. Czartoryskich 8, 24-100 Pulawy, Poland.


The concentrations of four triterpene saponins present in amaranth seeds were determined with high-performance liquid chromatography. It was shown that the total concentration of saponins in seeds was 0. 09-0.1% of dry matter. In germinating seeds an increase in concentration to 0.18% was observed after 4 days of germination, which remained stable for the next 3 days and later dropped to 0.09%. Highly purified extracts from the seeds were tested for their toxicity against hamsters. The hydrophobic fraction obtained by the extraction of seeds with methylene chloride showed no toxicity; the behavior of tested animals was similar to that of the group given an equivalent dose of rapeseed oil. A crude saponin fraction, containing approximately 70% of pure saponins in the matrix, showed some toxicity; the approximate lethal dose was calculated as 1100 mg/kg of body weight. It is concluded that low contents of saponins in amaranth seeds and their relatively low toxicity guarantee that amaranth-derived products create no significant hazard for the consumer.

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