Development of receptor-affinity extraction tools for isolation and characterization of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) in wastewater-impacted estuarine systems

P. Ferguson (PI), G. Thomas Chandler (co-PI)
Funding Agency: 

It is well established that a variety of anthropogenic organic contaminants (including hormones, pharmaceuticals, and industrial chemicals such as surfactants) can adversely affect exposed aquatic organisms through modulation of endocrine status.  However, the link between exposure to chemical mixtures and observed effects in contaminated environments is not clear.  We are developing novel analytical tools based on immobilized recombinant nuclear hormone receptors and high performance HPLC-MS/MS instrumentation in order to isolate, characterize, and quantify receptor-active EDCs in complex environmental mixtures.  Further, we are integrating novel and established invertebrate (e.g. copepod, amphipod) and vertebrate (e.g. zebrafish) endocrine bioassays with these analytical tools to provide a holistic picture of environmental endocrine disruption in wastewater impacted aquatic systems - from measuring exposure to assessing adverse effect.