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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Shappell, Nancy

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2003
Publication Date: 4/23/2003
Citation: Shappell, N.W. 2003. Assessment of estrogenic activity and toxicity of Red River water. [abstract]. 1st International Water Conference, Water Science & Decision-Making, April 23-24, 2003, Moorhead, MN.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Beginning in the fall of 2001, water was sampled seasonally from three sites on the Red River surrounding the Fargo-Moorhead area. Samples were extracted using solid phase extraction and tested for biological estrogenic activity using a cell culture system [MCF-7 estrogen screen assay (E-screen)]. The E-screen does not test for "estrogen" but determines if substances are present in water that can mimic estrogen's effects on the cells. Results indicate very low estrogenic activity in the Red River water samples, with the highest sample producing the activity equivalent to ~ 2 x 10-13 M estradiol (or ~ 0.05 ppt). For comparison, circulating levels of estradiol in women range from 8-80 x 10-11 M, and undiluted waste water effluents from this region have been assayed at ~ 8 x 10-12 M estradiol equivalents using the E-screen. While the levels of estrogenic activity in Red River water were encouraging, there were indications that anti-estrogenic or toxic factors are present in the river in some fall and summer samples. Some of these "inhibitors" may be working through estrogen receptors because a partial reversal of "toxicity" was observed when cells were treated with additional estradiol. Cell growth was also reduced in complete media that contained high estradiol concentration. This indicated a potential for cytotoxicity unrelated to estrogen. These results will be considered in light of the other analyses that have been made on Red River water samples taken concomitantly.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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