Feasibility Study of the Determination of Oestrogenic Compounds in Waters by HPLC-MS


Dec 1998


There has been recent concern regarding the levels of oestrogenic compounds in water sources. These compounds have been shown to cause biochemical changes and loss of male characteristics in fish. Although methods exist to quantify these compounds at the levels required for environmental studies they are time-consuming and produce variable results.

The feasibility of using high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) as a relatively simple means of detecting and quantifying oestrogenic compounds has been investigated. Experiments have been carried out to demonstrate the separation of these compounds by liquid chromatography and optimise their detection by mass spectrometry.

Detection limits were assessed on the optimised system. Given that a typical sample of water is expected to contain 100pg/1 of a particular oestrogen, the detection limits obtained would require that the sample be highly concentrated in the laboratory prior to quantification by HPLC-MS. This technique therefore is not yet considered feasible for the determination of these compounds at the required levels.

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