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Antifungal Activity of the Saponin Fraction Obtained from Asparagus officinalis L. and Its Active Principle

To date, many saponins have been isolated and characterized from asparagus. These constituents may have a bitter taste, and those parts which have a large amount of saponins in the 'bottom cut' must be discarded during processing. In India and other countries, asparagus has long been utilized for medicinal purposes, and saponins are considered to be the active principles possessing such physio­logical activities. Antifungal activities have been reported for several kinds of saponins. We have thus attempted to determine the antifungal activity of the waste products from asparagus processing and to isolate and characterize the active antifungal principle.

Materials and Methods

The crude saponin fraction was prepared from the bottom cut of white asparagus (Asparagus of­ficinalis L. cv. Merry Washington 500W), which was ob­tained from factory waste.

Preparation of the crude saponinfraction from asparagus. Dried bottom cut (3 kg) was extracted twice with 60% ethanol (50 I) at room temperature for 24hr. The two extracts were combined, the solvent being removed under reduced pressure.