A simple and selective high-performance liquid chromatography method coupled with fluorescence detection was developed for the simultaneous measurement of trace levels of four estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol and 17α-ethynyl estradiol) in environmental matrices. For feces samples, solid-liquid extraction was applied with a 1:1 v/v mixture of acetonitrile and ethyl acetate as the extraction solvent. For liquid samples (e.g., leachate and groundwater), hydrophobic/lipophilic balanced automated solid-phase extraction disks were selected due to their high recoveries compared to conventional C18 disks. Chromatographic separations were performed on a reversed-phase C18 column gradient-eluted with a 45:55 v/v mixture of acetonitrile and water. The detection limits were down to 1.1 × 10-2 (estrone), 4.11 × 10-4 (estradiol), 5.2 × 10-3 (estriol) and 7.18 × 10-3 μg/L (17α-ethynyl estradiol) at excitation/emission wavelengths of 288/310 nm, with recoveries in the range of 96.9 ± 3.2-105.4 ± 3.2% (n = 3). The method was successfully applied to determine estrogens in feces and water samples collected at livestock farms and a major river in Northeast China. We observed relatively high abundance and widespread distribution of all four estrogens in our sample collections, implying the urgency for a comprehensive and intricate investigation of estrogenic fate and contamination in our researched area.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Filtration and Separation
- Fluorescence detection
- High-performance liquid chromatography
- Solid-liquid extraction
- Solid-phase extraction