Validation of the REA bioassay to detect estrogenic activity in the water cycle

M.T. Nguyen, R. van der Oost, T.F.H. Bovee

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    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) with estrogenic potency contaminate water and might eventually cause adverse effects to the aquatic environment. Many estrogenic compounds are not completely removed by wastewater treatment systems and, together with the run-off from agricultural areas, they enter surface waters. Chemical analytical methods to determine these compounds are usually expensive and laborious. Therefore, screening bioassays which are able to detect compounds based on their effects offer a solution for prior selection of samples that need to be chemically analyzed. In this study, the REA (RIKILT yeast Estrogen bioAssay), which has been developed to detect estrogenic compounds in calf urine and animal feed at RIKILT, is validated at the Water Board Laboratory of Waterproef for water samples. According to EC Decision 2002/657, detection capability CCß, specificity and stability have to be determined for the internal validation of a qualitative screening test. In addition, surface water and effluent samples were analyzed to further demonstrate the applicability of the validated test procedure. Results demonstrate that the REA assay is reproducible and specific for estrogenic compounds in water and meets the criteria as prescribed in EC Decision 2002/657. The assay was sensitive enough to detect estrogenic activity of pollutants in water with a limit of quantification (LOQ) below 1 ng EEQ/L. This means that samples can be compared with preliminary threshold levels for drinking water and surface waters (7 and 1 ng EEQ/L, respectively). The stability of estrogenic activity in water samples is at least 4 weeks, when stored at 4 °C. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2003-2009
    JournalToxicology in Vitro
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • endocrine-disrupting compounds
    • green fluorescent protein
    • mass-spectrometry
    • liquid-chromatography
    • treatment plants
    • drinking-water
    • waste-water
    • fish


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