Receptor binding transcription activation bioassays are valuable tools for the screening of steroid hormones in animal feed and supplements. However, steroid derivatives often lack affinity for their cognate receptor and do not show any direct hormonal activity by themselves. These compounds are thus not detected by these kinds of bioassays and need a bioactivation step in order to become active, both in vivo and in vitro. In this study a comparison was made between different in vitro activation methods for hormone esters and hormone glycosides. Testosterone acetate and testosterone decanoate were chosen as model compounds for the hormone esters, representing the broad range of steroid esters of varying polarities, while genistin was used as a substitute model for the steroid-glycosides. Concerning bioactivation of the steroids esters, the efficiency for alkaline hydrolysis was 90–100% and much better as compared to enzymatic deconjugation by esterase. As a result 1 µg testosterone ester per gram of animal feed could easily be detected by a yeast androgen bioassay. When comparing different enzyme fractions for deglycosilation, genistin was shown to be deconjugated most efficiently by ß-glucuronidase/aryl sulfatase from Helix pomatia, resulting in a significant increase of estrogenic activity as determined by a yeast estrogen bioassay. In conclusion, chemical and enzymatic deconjugation procedures for ester and glycoside conjugates respectively, resulted in a significant increase in hormonal activity as shown by the bioassay readouts and allowed effective screening of these derivatives in animal feed and feed supplements.
- androgen bioassay
- yeast bioassay