The Secret of Self-Defense in Sea Cucumbers: Revealing the Magic Power of Triterpenoid Saponin

Sea cucumber is a marine animal and Tonic Diet in South Asia. It is a charming small animal that lives on the sea floor. Triterpenoid saponins are usually produced by plants, but rarely in animals, and they can produce this molecule. However, the evolution of triterpenoid saponins from sea cucumbers has always puzzled scientists. In recent studies, researchers at the John Innes Center conducted in-depth exploration of the genome of sea cucumbers and compared the results with other echinoderms such as sea urchins and starfish. The researchers wrote, “Soft-moving marine organisms, such as starfish and sea cucumbers, lack adaptive immune systems and have evolved to manufacture special protective chemicals (glycosylated steroids and triterpenes).” The ability to function as part of their innate immune system. According to analysis, sea cucumbers lack a key enzyme that can produce the steroids needed to construct cell membranes and hormones. It has been proven that sea cucumbers have redirected the function of producing sterols to two new genes with different purposes. Researchers have found that these genes have two functions. The first one is to manufacture a saponin for self-defense. Secondly, the molecules produced by these genes can protect sea cucumbers from the influence of their defense mechanisms.


(Triterpenoid saponin)

Triterpenoid saponin is a complex compound in fungi, ferns, monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants, and certain animal bodies. Triterpenoid saponins are a group of compounds composed of 6 isoprene units and containing 30 carbon atoms.

The form of existence of triterpenoid saponin:

  1. Free state (glycoside)
  2. Combine with sugars to form glycosides (triterpenoid saponins). These types of saponins often have carboxyl groups, so they are sometimes referred to as acidic saponins.
(Triterpenoid saponin)

The application of triterpenoid saponin:

Pharmacological effects:

  1. Regulating secretion function: It can directly regulate the secretion function of the human body, promote the circulation of qi and blood, and effectively alleviate various abdominal distension problems.
  2. Adjust lipase activity: Helps accelerate the breakdown of excess fat in the body, effectively preventing the absorption of fat in the intestine, and inhibiting the synthesis of fat in the liver.
  3. Anti-cholesterol deposition: Anti-cholesterol deposition on the inner walls of blood vessels, gradually reducing weight.

Other applications: There are also applications in cosmetics, food additives, and agriculture.

(Triterpenoid saponin)


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