Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 287–294 | Cite as

Steroidal Saponin and Flavonol Content and Antioxidant Activity during Sporophyte Development of Maguey (Agave salmiana)

  • César A. Puente-Garza
  • Claudia A. Espinosa-Leal
  • Silverio García-LaraEmail author
Original Paper


Agave salmiana Otto ex Salm-Dyck has traditionally been used for the production of fermented beverage known as “pulque” that has recently gained acceptance as a functional food. However, the plant requires up to 10 years to be used as raw material. The objective of this work was to evaluate the antioxidant and bioactive principles of Agave salmiana during different stages of development. Wild grown plants from Coahuila, Mexico, were identified based on leaf and spine traits to obtain a representative sample from six different stages of development (I-VI) from 1 to 7 years old. Total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant activity (AOX), as well as composition and content of flavonols and saponins by HPLC-MS-TOF and HPLC-ELSD-PDA were evaluated. Concentrations of TPC were found to be between 5 to 13 mg gallic acid equivalents/g, reaching a maximum at stage II. The AOX presented a negative tendency from stage I to stage VI (from 148 to 50 μmol Trolox equivalents/g respectively). Kaempferol, quercetin and five saponins were identified. Similar to AOX, flavonols presented a negative concentration tendency with a reduction of 65% between the stage I and VI. Plants of stage III and IV presented the highest content of saponins, particularly chlorogenin glycoside, containing 3.19 and 2.90 mg protodioscin equivalents/g, respectively. These data suggest that plants from stages I to IV may be used as a source of antioxidant and bioactive principles, and that the content of these metabolites could be used as a marker to determine the developmental stage of the plant.


Agave salmiana Antioxidant capacity Agave development Flavonols Saponins 



We thank to “Agmel SA de CV” for providing the plants necessary for this study.


This research was supported by the Research Chair Funds CAT-005 from Tecnologico de Monterrey-Campus Monterrey, and the PhD scholarship to C. Puente by CONACyT, Mexico (328599).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • César A. Puente-Garza
    • 1
  • Claudia A. Espinosa-Leal
    • 1
  • Silverio García-Lara
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Sustainable Agri-Food UnitTecnologico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingeniería y CienciasMonterreyMexico

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