Occurrence and analysis of estrogens and progestogens in river sediments by liquid chromatography-electrospray-mass spectrometry
In this study, an analytical procedure for the determination in sediment of the most abundant and/or physiological active estrogens (estradiol, estriol, estrone, ethynyl estradiol, and diethylstilbestrol) and progestogens (progesterone, norethindrone, and levonorgestrel) is described. The procedure includes ultrasonic extraction of the lyophilized sediment, clean-up with octadecylsilica cartridges, and analysis by liquid chromatography-diode array detection-mass spectrometry (LC-DAD-MS). MS detection is performed with an electrospray interface in the positive ion mode for determination of the progestogens and in the negative ion mode for determination of the estrogens. The method was applied to the determination of the target compounds in river sediments from the area of Catalonia. Estrogens and progestogens were found at concentrations usually in the low ng g−1 range. Estriol and norethindrone were the compounds most frequently found whereas maximum concentrations in all sediment samples were obtained for ethynyl estradiol (22.8 ng g−1) and estrone (11.9 ng g−1). Detection limits were in the range of 0.04–1.00 ng g−1. Preliminary conjectures with regards to the environmental behavior and impact of estrogens and progestogens in rivers are made. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first work reporting a detailed method for the analysis of estrogens and progestogens in river sediments and data on the environmental occurrence of both groups of compounds.