Estrogenicity of solid phase-extracted water samples from two municipal sewage treatment plant effluents and river Rhine water using the yeast estrogen screen

S Pawlowski, T A Ternes, M Bonerz, A C Rastall, L Erdinger, T Braunbeck
Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA 2004, 18 (1): 129-38
In the present study, the yeast estrogen screen (YES) was used to estimate the estrogenic potential of solid phase-extracted water samples from the effluents of two municipal sewage treatment plants (STPs 1 + 2) and from four lanes (left to right) of the river Rhine at Worms, Germany, i.e. downstream the STPs. Estrogenic activities of extracted water samples were expressed as 17beta-estradiol equivalents (E(2)-EQs). Estrogenic activity was detected in the effluents of both STPs with values of 0.242 +/- 0.038 nM (65.96 +/- 10.4 ng/l) and 0.125 +/- 0.026 nM E(2)-EQs (34.1 +/- 7.18 ng/l) at STP 1 and 2, respectively. In river Rhine water, estrogenic activity was lower, however, displaying significant differences between the left and right bank of the river (0.044 +/- 0.003 nM E(2)-EQs [11.97 +/- 0.7 ng/l] for lanes 1-3; 0.071 +/- 0.01 nM E(2)-EQs [19.42 +/- 2.8 ng/l] for lane 4). Chemical analysis of corresponding water samples resulted in a potential estrogenic response in the YES, expressed as E(2)-EQs for the known estrogens and phytoestrogens in the STP effluents with values up to 0.0662 nM E(2)-EQs (18.04 ng/l). In Rhine water from lane 4, however, total estrogenic activity of steroidal estrogens was equal to 0.014 nM E(2)-EQs (3.8 ng/l). Furthermore, total concentrations of flavonoids, fecal- and phytosteroids and resorcyclic lactones were about 1.2 microg/l at STP 1, 0.62 microg/l at STP 2 and 0.25 microg/l at the river Rhine, lane 4. Results indicate that estrogenic activity can clearly be measured in SPT effluents as well as in river Rhine water using the YES in combination with chemical analysis. Results from the bioassay, however, indicated a higher estrogenic potential (expressed as E(2)-EQs) than that obtained by chemical analysis.

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