Analysis of estrogenic activity in coastal surface waters of the Baltic Sea using the yeast estrogen screen


In the present study, the yeast estrogen screen (YES) has been used to assess the estrogenic activity in surface waters of a coastal region in the German Baltic Sea. Solid-phase extraction using the copolymer Oasis HLB followed by a clean-up on silica was carried out on approximately 50-l water samples. From the final 400 μl extract volume, 100 μl aliquots were used for the measurement of estrogenic activity and for chemical analysis, which was performed by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). From 29 samples taken during two campaigns (2003 and 2004) at five different stations 27 samples showed an estrogenic response higher than 10%. The response in the YES was expressed as measured estradiol equivalents (EEQs), which were in the range of 0.01 (Darss Peninsula) to 0.82 ng/l (Inner Wismar Bay). Samples from stations located in inner coastal waters showed higher estrogenic activities than those from outer located stations. A comparison of measured estrogenicity (YES) and calculated estrogenicity (chemical analysis) showed significant differences, probably due to the presence of anti-estrogenic compounds and/or the estrogenic activity of unknown, not identified contaminants. The main contributors to the overall estrogenic activity were synthetic and natural hormones.
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