Effects of biodegradation and sorption by humic acid on the estrogenicity of 17β-estradiol

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Journal Article
Chemosphere, 2011, 85 (8), pp. 1383 - 1389
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The removal of 17β-estradiol (E2) by biodegradation and sorption onto humic acid (HA) was examined at various HA concentrations. Subsequently, estrogenicity associated with E2 removal was estimated using E-screen bioassay. Results showed that E2 biodegradation and its subsequent transformation to estrone (E1) were significantly reduced with increasing HA concentration. In addition, the presence of nutrients enhanced the biodegradation of E2. Overall, E2 biodegradation was the dominating contributor to its removal, which demonstrated a significantly negative correlation with E2 sorption at various HA concentrations. The sorption of E2 by HA was significantly enhanced with increasing HA concentration. Estrogenicity associated with residual E2 showed that there existed a significant difference among various HA concentrations, with the lowest value in the absence of HA. The findings suggest that the presence of HA and nutrients in natural waters should be considered in assessing estrogenicity of environmental samples due to complex sorption and biodegradation processes. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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