Structural Elucidation of Novel Saponins in the Sea Cucumber Holothuria lessoni

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    Sea cucumbers are prolific producers of a wide range of bioactive compounds. This study aimed to purify and characterize one class of compound, the saponins, from the viscera of the Australian sea cucumber Holothuria lessoni. The saponins were obtained by ethanolic extraction of the viscera and enriched by a liquid-liquid partition process and adsorption column chromatography. A high performance centrifugal partition chromatography (HPCPC) was applied to the saponin-enriched mixture to obtain saponins with high purity. The resultant purified saponins were profiled using MALDI-MS/MS and ESI-MS/MS which revealed the structure of isomeric saponins to contain multiple aglycones and/or sugar residues. We have elucidated the structure of five novel saponins, Holothurins D/E and Holothurinosides X/Y/Z, along with seven reported triterpene glycosides, including sulfated and non-sulfated saponins containing a range of aglycones and sugar moieties, from the viscera of H. lessoni. The abundance of novel compounds from this species holds promise for biotechnological applications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4439-4473
    Number of pages35
    JournalMarine Drugs
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


    • Bioactive compounds
    • Echinodermata
    • ESI
    • Holothurian
    • HPCPC
    • MALDI
    • Marine invertebrate
    • Mass spectrometry
    • Saponins
    • Sea cucumber viscera
    • Structure elucidation
    • Triterpene glycosides


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