Economic Botany

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 302–311 | Cite as

Industrial uses and sustainable supply ofQuillaja saponaria (Rosaceae) saponins

  • Ricardo San Martín
  • Reinaldo Briones


The bark of the tree Quillaja saponaria, indigenous to Chile, is one of the major sources of industrially used triterpenoid saponins. For decades quillaja extracts have been used as foaming agents in beverages, emulsifiers in foods, wetting agent in photography, etc. Overexploitation of the bark has caused important ecological damage and a shortage of this resource. However, this can still be remedied by using whole quillaja wood (and not just the bark), for the production of saponins. This raw material can be obtained in large quantities from pruning operations, reducing the need to fell trees. This review covers ecological aspects of quillaja exploitation, as well as a discussion of its novel industrial applications.

Key Words

Quillaja saponaria saponins sustainable production 

Usos Industriales y Abastecimiento Sustenable de Saponina de Quillaja saponaria


La corteza del árbolQuillaja saponaria, originario de Chile, es una de las principales fuentes industriales de saponinas triterpénicas. Durante décodas los extrados de quillay han sido usados como espumante en bebidas, emulsificante en alimentos, agente humectante en fotografia, etc. La sobre explotación de la corteza ha causado un importante daño ecológico y escasez de este recurso. Esto aún puede ser remediado usando en forma integral toda la biomasa del árbol y no sólo la corteza. Esta materia prima es abundante, y se obtiene del raleo de los basques existentes, sin necesidad de cortar ârboles. Este trabajo cubre aspectos ecológicos de la explotación del quillay, y novedosos usos industriales de sus saponinas.


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo San Martín
    • 1
  • Reinaldo Briones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Bioprocess EngineeringCatholic UniversitySantiagoChile

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