Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New data show agricultural anabolic steroids regenerate in aquatic ecosystems

27.09.2013
Article in Science magazine by University of Nevada, Reno and University of Iowa shows research result

New regulatory approaches may be needed to assess environmental risks of agricultural growth promoters, and similar human pharmaceuticals, following research that shows a newly found reversion mechanism allows unexpected persistence of the steroidal substances in aquatic environments.


Ed Kolodziej is an associate professor and researcher in the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Science and project leader of a collaborative multi-disciplinary research team that includes the University of Iowa and Truman State. He and his team found a new mechanism where chemicals transform, under certain conditions, to avoid detection, which may account for unexplained observations of endocrine disruption in aquatic organisms.

Credit: Photo courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno.

Results of the research will be published in an article in the renowned journal Science – the weekly journal of AAAS, the science society – next month and are available immediately online in Science Express.

"We investigated trenbolone, an anabolic steroid, and found that the photochemical breakdown isn't the end of its life cycle," Ed Kolodziej, co-author of the paper and environmental engineering professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said. "Our team found that these substances, after a rapid breakdown in sunlight, are capable of a unique transformation in aquatic environments under various temperature and light-cycle scenarios where the process is reversed."

Kolodziej, project leader of a collaborative multi-disciplinary research team that includes the University of Iowa and Truman State, said this newly found mechanism may account for unexplained observations of endocrine disruption in aquatic organisms.

"Right now, I'm not alarmed, just concerned and interested in defining the real ecological risks associated with the widespread use of potent steroidal pharmaceuticals," Kolodziej, who has been studying the effects of these substances on aquatic ecosystems for 12 years, said. "This implies uncertainty with the current environmental risk assessments or ecotoxicology studies used by regulatory agencies, researchers and pharmaceutical companies."

The team used laboratory and field studies to explore the process. They found that the steroid's chemical compounds, while breaking down as expected in sunlight, never fully disappeared; even in conditions that mimicked surface water, a small percentage of the chemical structure remained after extended sunlight. The remains regenerated themselves at night, in some cases to up to 70 percent of the metabolites initial mass."

"We knew something unique was going on," David Cwiertny, Kolodziej's research partner from the University of Iowa, said. "In daylight, it essentially hides in another form, to evade analysis and detection, and then at nighttime it readily transforms back to a state that we can detect."

The researchers validated the lab results with two experiments in the field – one with water taken from the Iowa River in Iowa City, Iowa and the other from samples taken from a collection pond at a cattle rangeland and research operation in California's Central Valley run by the University of California, Davis.

Trenbolone is a federally approved drug widely used by the beef industry to promote weight gain and to increase feeding efficiency in cattle. The drug, although popular in the bodybuilding and weightlifting communities, and as an athletic performance enhancer, has long been banned for human use, and also is banned for agricultural uses in the E.U.

Trenbolone has been considered safe for ecosystems due to its initially rapid degradation, with studies pointing to an environmental half-life of less than a day. Studies have indicated that low concentrations of these endocrine disrupting environmental steroids affect fish, by reducing egg production of females and skewing the sex of some species.

The article can be found at the Science Express website: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/recent.

Kolodziej is an associate professor in the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Engineering. His website can found at http://www.unr.edu/cee/homepages/kolodziej/index.html.

Founded in 1874 as Nevada's land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities. With nearly 19,000 students, the University is driven to contribute a culture of student success, world-improving research and outreach that enhances communities and business. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system's largest research program and is home to the state's medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and home to one of the largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.unr.edu.

Mike Wolterbeek | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unr.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>