The Role of Enzymes in the Release of Steroidal Sapogenins from Nigerian Agave Species.
A literature review of the previous work in the studies of Agave species for steroidal sapogenins is presented. The hydrolysis of steroidal saponins in three Nigerian Agave species viz:- A. americana var. marginata Trel, A. angustifolia Haw var. marginata Trel, and A. sisalana Perrine with enzymes to give hecogenin and tigogenin among other sapogenins was effected under the conditions of this work. The amount of such sapogenins obtained by different treatment of the leaf of each Agave species was quantified. The steroidal sapogenins in the extracts were assayed by the Gas Liquid Chromatography (GLC). Calibration and the level of hecogenin and tigogenin were obtained using peak height ratios. Cellulase and pectinase appeared to be capable of replacing the endogenous enzymes in the release of tigogenin in A. angustifolia var. marginata and A. sisalana. Cellulase appeared more effective than pectinase in this respect. The yields of steroidal sapogenins in the Nigerian Agave species were found to be comparable with those obtained from Agave species grown in Kenya and in other tropical regions of the world.