Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

A unified protocol for the simultaneous chemical analysis of steroidal estrogens and alkylphenols

The wide variety of chemical structures and their chemical/physical properties render the determination of endocrine disrupters (EDC) mixtures a challenge for analytical chemistry. Many analytical methods by both GC and HPLC have been recently proposed in literature for the specific determination of EDCs in environmental waters (river waters, sea waters, final WWTP effluents), but they are limited to the determination of individual compounds (estradiol, ethynylestradiol, bisphenol-A) or simple classes (alkylphenols, steroidal EDCs) of EDCs. The major drawback of GC techniques is that often-preliminary derivatization steps are needed in order to increase volatility of analytes, thus increasing analysis time and avoiding the concurrent detection of structurally different compounds. HPLC on the other hand, joining the absence of derivatization steps and the large variety of compounds that can be analysed, especially the polar ones, is becoming the most suitable technique for the determination of EDCs.

A new analytical method was developed for the simultaneous determination of EDCs in fresh and salt-water samples. The covered EDCs include the steroidal compounds estradiol, ethynylestradiol, estriol, estrone and mestranol, as well as the nonsteroidal octylphenol, nonylphenol, nonylphenol monoethoxylate carboxylate, bisphenol-A, benzophenone, genistein and diethylstilbestrol. The method is based on solid phase extraction (SPE) followed by LC-ESI-MS analysis.

Recovery efficiencies range between 70 and 99%, with the exception of estriol and benzophenone, which show recoveries of 60 and 50%, respectively. The method detection limits (MDLs) were between 0.1 ng/L for nonylphenol monoethoxylate carboxylate to 4ng/L for mestranol. The developed analytical method is enough sensitive, robust and rapid to be applied to the routine determination of natural and synthetic EDCs in natural waters, thus permitting a more comprehensive evaluation of the exposure to EDCs in the aquatic environment.

Reported by

University of Venice, Environ Sci Dept
Calle Larga S. Marta 2137
30123 Venice
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