Saponins are excellent natural non-ionic surfactants with antimicrobial properties. Oil-tea camellia is a unique woody oil-bearing crop in in Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and other areas. In addition to tea seed oil, oil-tea camellia seed also contains 12-18% tea saponin, contained in the extraction by-product oil-tea meal and mostly treated as waste. A team at CAS Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) led by WANG Jianxun has developed a preparation method for high-purity tea saponin based on a water-free solvent and a flash extraction hybrid membrane. The resulting saponin proved of high purity and was used for the preparation of high-end toiletries with strong detergency, bactericidal, skin care and other functions.

CAS news release, October 9, 2018