Diosgenin is a pharmaceutical used for the synthesis of cortisone, progesterone, and other steroid products.
Diosgenin is made by hydrolysis of saponins, which are extracted from Dioscorea villosa, a plant which grows in North America. It is also present in a number of other plant species which mainly occur in North America. Extracts of Dioscorea villosa containing diosgenin are sold in a variety of pharmacy and health food stores because of their presumed ability to minimize post-menopausal symptoms. It is also thought to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, and to reduce high blood pressure.
It has a very low water solubility 0.02 mg/l, is very hydrophobic and is therefore expected in the marine environment to be mostly associated to organic matter, particles and sediments. It is also expected to have a high potential towards bioaccumulation. 
Environmental standards and legislation
- www.wikipedia.org August 12 2009
- www.raysahelian.com August 12 2009
- Son IS, Kim JH, Sohn HY, Son KH, Kim JS, Kwon CS. 2007 Antioxidative and hypolipidemic effects of diosgenin, a steroidal saponin of yam (Dioscorea spp.), on high-cholesterol fed rats. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Dec;71(12):3063-71. Epub 2007 Dec 7.
- Jayadev Raju, Jagan M.R. Patlolla, Malisetty V. Swamy and Chinthalapally V. Rao 2004 Diosgenin, a Steroid Saponin of Trigonella foenum graecum (Fenugreek), Inhibits Azoxymethane-Induced Aberrant Crypt Foci Formation in F344 Rats and Induces Apoptosis in HT-29 Human Colon Cancer Cells Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 13, 1392-1398, August 2004
- Pim de Voogt and Bert van Hattum 2003 Critical factors in exposure modelling of endocrine active substances Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 75, Nos. 11–12, pp. 1933–1948, 2003
Please note that others may also have edited the contents of this article.