noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A steroid compound obtained from Mexican yams and used in the synthesis of steroid hormones.
- The naturally occurring plant sterol diosgenin from Mexican yams can be converted through a simple laboratory process called hydrolyzation into a steroid compound molecularly identical to human progesterone.
- Dioscorea species contain the steroidal sapogenin called diosgenin.
- While one of the components in wild yam, diosgenin, can be converted in the laboratory to steroidal compounds including progesterone, this synthesis does not occur in the human body.
1930s: from dios- (from the modern Latin genus name Dioscorea) + genin, denoting steroids that occur as the non-sugar part of certain glycosides.
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