Determination of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the Pike River
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Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic and natural compounds that, when absorbed by an organism, can change the function of the endocrine system (Stuart, 2006). Researchers all over the world are studying the potentially harmful effects of these chemicals, particularly those effects on fish and amphibians. These effects include, reproductive, neurological, and immunologic dysfunction, among others (Harding et al. 2006).Research in our lab has focused on the reproductive effects of EDCs in aquatic habitats. Fish and amphibians are exposed to EDCs through their environment. To our knowledge, the concentrations of three specific EDCs-- atrazine, 17 α ethynylestradiol, and 17 β estradiol--have not been determined for the Pike River in Kenosha, WI. We hypothesize that surface waters in Lake Michigan will have higher levels of 17α ethynylestradiol and 17β estradiol. In agricultural areas, we hypothesize that atrazine will be detected in higher concentrations. Finally, we hypothesize that there should not be any 17α ethynylestradiol in the Pike River as it should be sewage free; any 17 β estradiol found in the Pike River will be attributed to natural production by organisms living in or near the river. Through filtration, solid phase extraction (SPE), derivatization, and the use of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) the concentrations of these three EDCs will be determined. After analyzing our GC/MS results, we have seen that a new or improved protocol will be needed to better derivatize the samples and that a new internal standard needs to be used to prevent overlapping peaks. Also, calibration curves for all three EDCs have been made, each having an R2 value above 0.98. Through the progress made this summer, our research team hopes improve our protocols to continue our research during the 2010-2011 school year in hopes of determining the concentrations of atrazine, 17 α ethynylestradiol, and 17 β estradiol in the Pike River. After the concentrations of these three EDCs are found, future research can focus on the reproductive effects on aquatic organisms at the determined concentrations.