Rapid water sample screening for estrogenic activity using live yeast cells
Borglin, S. E.
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Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are substances that influence the endocrine system in living organisms. They include natural hormones, medicinal drugs, chemical compounds in industry, and pesticides in agriculture. The substances may be present in water and wastewater, soil and sediments, or airborne. Our research is focused on the estrogenic EDCs, i.e. substances which mimic the natural hormone estrogen produced by the body, and their occurrence and fate in the context of wastewater management. The primary contributors to estrogenic activity wastewater are 17_-estradiol, estrone, and 17_-ethinylestradiol. We are interested in readily detecting and quantifying this estrogenic activity as a first step in the daily management and reduction of estrogenic EDCs in wastewater before discharge into the environment with effluent and biosolids. We report progress on a fluorescence assay for the presence of estrogenic activity in water samples using a living estrogen-sensitive yeast cell strain, and on a study of responses of living yeast cells to estrogen and alkylphenol exposure using synchrotron radiation-based Fourier Transform infrared spectromicroscopy (SRFTIR). The fluorescent response of the yeast allows for rapid sample screening, and the SR-FTIR infrared spectrum is a measure of the overall in vivo yeast biochemical response to the sample.