Aims and Objectives: Secondary metabolism in marine organisms produces a diversity of
biologically important natural compounds that are not present in terrestrial species. Sea cucumbers
belong to the invertebrate Echinodermata and are famous for their nutraceutical, medical and food
values. They are known for possession triterpenoid glycosides (saponins) with various ecological
roles. The current work aimed to separate, identify and test various biological activities (antibacterial,
antifungal, antileishmanial and anticancer properties) of saponins produced by the
holothurian Pearsonothuria graeffei from the Red Sea, Egypt.
Materials and Methods: The structures were identified by 1D and 2D NMR (1H, 13C, TOCSY,
COSY, HSQC, HMBC, and ROESY) experiments and acid hydrolysis. The crude and purified
fractions was analyzed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry
(MALDI-MS)/MS to identify saponins and characterize their molecular structures. Partially purified
fraction, mainly containing compounds 1 and 2, was screened for its antifungal activity against three
clinical isolates of Candida albicans (Candida 580 (1), Candida 581(2) and Candida MEO47228.
Antileishmanial activity against Leishmania major and toxicity on colon cell-line were also
Results: Two lanostane type sulfated triterpene monoglycosides were isolated from the Holothurian
Pearsonothuria graeffei from the Red Sea, Egypt. Holothurin A (1) and echinoside A (2) triterpene
saponins were separated by reversed phase semi-preparative HPLC. LC50 values (µg/mL); calculated
for the fraction containing saponins 1 and 2 as major constituents; against Candida albicans,
Leishmania major and colon cell-line were 10, 20 and 0.50, respectively.
Conclusion: Consequently, this study demonstrated the potential use of sea cucumber
Pearsonothuria graeffei not only as appreciated functional food or nutraceuticals but also as the
source of functional ingredients for pharmaceutical products with antifungal, antileishmanial and