Folate metabolism and requirements were studied in 10 adult nonpregnant women maintained for 92 d in a metabolic unit. After a folate depletion period of 28 d, the subjects received increasing supplements of folate from food items or as pteroylmonoglutamic acid (PGA). Plasma folate levels fell 60% during the depletion period and continued to fall until 200 micrograms/d of naturally occurring food folates were provided. Supplements of 300 micrograms/d of naturally occurring folates produced a small rise in plasma folate levels although erythrocyte folate levels continued to fall. Lymphocyte deoxyuridine suppression, neutrophil hypersegmentation, and other measurements related to folate metabolism were performed. When compared with PGA, dietary folates appeared to be no more than 50% available. A daily intake of 200-250 micrograms of dietary folates appears to meet the folate requirements of nonpregnant adult women whereas an intake of 300 micrograms/d provides an allowance for storage.