International Workshop on SAPONINS, A GROUP OF USEFUL NATURAL PRODUCTS (June 24-26, 2014)

Venue: COMSTECH Building, 33 Constitution Avenue, G-5/2, Islamabad, Pakistan

Saponins are natural products consisting of a sugar moiety (also known as Glycone) linked to a (triterpene or steroid moiety called aglycones). When they are dissolved in water, they produce stable foam. Furthermore they show haemolytic activity and are toxic to fish. Several saponin bearing plants have been employed for hundreds of years as detergents.

In addition to the use of saponins as detergents, saponins are constituents of plant drugs in folk medicine, especially in the oriental countries like China, India and Pakistan. The most common sources of saponins are higher plants. However, some marine animals are also known to contain saponins, e.g., sea cucumber and starfish.

The saponins pose a challenge to chemists and pharmacists because they are difficult to isolate in pure form. Various types of chromatographic techniques, followed by solvent separations, are used for purification. But since saponins have similar polarity and solubility, the isolation of pure saponins from plants and marine animals remains tricky.

Targeted Participants and Contents of the Workshop

The workshop is aimed to benefit natural product scientists, chemists, pharmacists who are interested to know more about saponins. The knowledge gained at this workshop will be useful in their work on other aspects of natural products.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to saponins
  • Classification of saponin into various groups according to the structure of aglycones.
  • Techniques used for isolation and purification of saponins.
  • Spectroscopic techniques for the elucidation of structure of new saponins.
  • Use of saponins in industry and indigenous medicine.

Resource Persons:

  • Professor Viqar Uddin Ahmad, H.I.,S.I.
    (Focal Person of the Workshop)
    Distinguished National Professor (HEC)
    H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry,
    International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences,
    University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Prof. Dr. M. Shaiq Ali
    H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry,
    International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences,
    University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan
  • Dr. Zulfiqar Ali
    Research Scientist,
    National Center for Natural Products Research,
    Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences,
    The University of Mississippi, MS, USA
  • Dr. Hidayat Hussain
    University of Nizwa (UoN) Chair of Oman’s Medicinal Plants and Marine Natural Products,
    University of Nizwa, Nizwa, Oman

Registration Fee

Registration fee for foreign participants is US$ 50.00 and for local participants Pak rupees 2,500.00

Local Hospitality and Travel

COMSTECH will provide free accommodation and meals to a limited number of selected participants. Travel grants are not available. Pick and drop service on arrival and departure will be provided to only those who are travelling by air.

Registration Process

Step 1: Download application form click here
Step 2: Submit completed application form to and
Step 3: Successful candidates will receive acceptance email after the application deadline.
Step 4: Local participants will be required to send a bank draft in favor of COMSTECH as registration fee of PKR 2,500 as their application will not be considered otherwise. Foreign participants will have to deposit their registration fee of US$ 50 at the time of registration on the first day of the workshop. Further instructions for fee submission will be provided to the successful candidates after selection process.

Last Date for Applications: May 09, 2014

For queries, please contact:

Ms. Hanifa Beg
Programme Manager
Tel: +92-51-9220681-3
Fax: +92-51-9205264, +92-51-9220265

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