Quinoa Saponins have various applications and potential applications that were successfully tested over the past two decades. The main barrier to the use of quinoa saponins in the Pharmaceutical market is the supply. Not enough high quality product volume was present at the market to make a substantial impact.

Quinoa saponins can be used in the following applications:

• Nonionic surfactant that forms oil-in-water emulsions and acts as protective colloid. Used for the direct determination of metals in milk by flame atomic-absorption spectrophotometry.
• Permeabilization of cell membranes and separation of low molecular weight contaminants, and as an adjuvant in vaccine development.
• Current market saponin sapogenin content ranges between 20-35%
• THI Quinoa Saponins show consistently sapogenin content over 60%

Over the last 15 years, since the revival of interest in Quinoa and the interest in nutraceuticals, and the medicinal properties of plants has resulted in studies that have attributed the biological activity of many of these plants to their saponin content. Many interesting physiological and pharmacological effects have been attributed to saponins and/or corresponding sapogenins including:

• reduction of serum cholesterol (Price el al., CRC Crit. Rev. Food. Sci. Nutr.26:27 1987)),
• inhibition of alcohol absorption (Yoshikawa, M. & J. Yamahara (1996), In Saponins used in Traditional and Modern Medicine, Edited by G.R. Waller and K. Yamasaki. pp.207-218. New York, Plenum Press, Vol. 404)
• inhibition of glucose absorption (Matsua, H., et al., Biol. Pharmac. Bull. 20:717, 1997),
• facilitation of transdermal absorption and intestinal absorption of drugs (Gee, et al. Toxic in Vitro 3:85 (1989)),
• hypoglycaemic and anti-inflamatory effects (Honda, T., et al., Bioorganic Med. Chem. Lett. 7:1623, 1997)
• Recently studies have shown that novel derivatives of the saponin oleanolic acid have potentially valuable pharmacological properties (Finlay, H. J., et al., Bioorganic Med. Chem. Lett. 7:1769, 1997)
• Saponins have been known to have adjuvant activity since the 1920’s (Sjölander & Cox, Adv. Drug Delivery Rev. 34:321 (1998)).
• Kensil (Kensil, et al., J. Immurol. 146: 431 (1991)) has demonstrated that a need exists for a substantially pure saponin that can be used as an adjuvant in relatively low quantities with low toxicity and side effects. Estrada et al. U.S. Pat. No. 5,688,772 teaches that all quinoa saponins obtained by water extraction are equivalent and active as immunological adjuvants.

Recent developments in HPLC analysis, corroborated by our research, have indicated that, in the case of quinoa saponins, the GLC approach of extensive purification does not give quantitative or qualitative recovery of the naturally occurring saponins. Muir et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,355,249 B2 presents a saponin commercial extraction method using an aqueous alcohol solution containing an alcohol selected from the group consisting of methanol and ethanol to form a saponin-containing solution and an extracted solid residue, removing the alcohol from the saponin-containing solution to leave a saponin-containing aqueous solution, and evaporating water from the saponin-containing aqueous solution to produce a saponin-containing product. This procedure is both expensive and yields a product that cannot be certified as organic.
Up to the present date, only a very limited number of purified saponins and sapogenins are commercially available and practical procedures for large scale quantitative and qualitative recovery of highly purified saponins and sapogenins are lacking in spite of numerous publications describing analytical and laboratory scale producers. The lack of suitable practical extraction and purification methods is also reflected in the relatively high cost of those compounds that are available.
THI and its proprietary AOSS technology have changed the quinoa saponin supply curve, which made high quality product volume available continuously. It will be exciting to see new Pharmaceutical application appear in the short term.
AOSS technology stands for Advanced Organic Synthesis and Separation, which concentrates organic/ chemical compounds based on their physical characteristics like:

1. enthalpy,
2. electrical charge,
3. cations,
4. anions,
5. PH
6. Alkalinity,
7. Conductivity among others,

AOSS technology uses only water and thus compounds concentrated by it can be certified as organic. AOSS will make several hard-to-get organic and pharma compounds market ready, and of course, will transform the saponin market.