The aglycon form of the steroidal sapogenin furost -5-ene-3 beta, 22,26-triol, 3 beta- chacotrioside 26 beta-D-glucopyranoside was isolated from cell suspension cultures of Dioscorea deltoidea and its molecular structure was determined by mass spectrometry and 1H and 13C n.m.r. spectroscopy. From kinetic studies and incorporation experiments with [1-14C]acetate it was concluded that the steroidal compound (in the glycoside form) is an intermediate in vivo in diosgenin biosynthesis. It accumulated in growing cells of D. deltoidea and was metabolized to diosgenin (in the glycoside form, i.e. dioscin ) in non-dividing cells.