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The Occurrence of a Potent Estrogen in the Shenandoah River in the Vicinity of an Agricultural Wastewater Treatment Plant Using Solid-Phase Extraction, and Enzymatic Immunoassay

Michael Lehner, June Liu, and Thomas B. Huff



17- -Estradiol is the most potent estrogen found in humans. While it is naturally produced by the body, it can have extremely harmful effects at excess concentrations. Male fish in regional waterways have been observed with developing egg sacks, as well as other troubling characteristics. It is possible that estradiol, even at extremely low concentrations, in the rivers may be the cause of these deformities.

Numerous water samples were taken from several sampling sites along the Shenandoah River . These sites were chosen to investigate a possible of influx estradiol levels from an agricultural wastewater treatment plant.

The samples were filtered using high pressure nitrogen to remove any microorganisms that may affect the amount of estradiol in the sample. The estradiol was then extracted from the sample using established solid phase extraction techniques. The amount of estradiol was then quantified using the Cayman 582251 Estradiol Immunoassay Kit. This is a competitive immunoassay, and is based on the competition between estradiol in the sample and an estradiol tracer for a limited amount of antiserum. The amount of unbound estradiol tracer after incubation is correlated to a concentration of estradiol in the sample. Using published data, the concentration of estradiol in the samples was then converted into a flow rate of estradiol flowing through the river.

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