publication in journal Science

Dr. Jonas Baltrusaitis from PCS group, TNW, as a part of an interdisciplinary international research team led by Prof. David Cwiertny, University of Iowa, USA, performed research on the fate of emerging organic contaminants in the environment, and the work was recently published in journal Science (available on Science Express on September 26th, 2013, “Product-to-Parent Reversion of Trenbolone: Unrecognized Risks for Endocrine Disruption”, Shen Qu, Edward P. Kolodziej, Sarah A. Long, James B. Gloer, Eric V. Patterson, Jonas Baltrusaitis, Gerrad D. Jones, Peter V. Benchetler, Emily A. Cole, Kaitlin C. Kimbrough, and David M. Cwiertny). 


It concerns trenbolone acetate (TBA), a potent endocrine disrupting compound, extensively used in US animal agriculture to promote beef cattle growth. Enhanced environmental persistence of the major metabolites of TBA was demonstrated. While the initial environmental phototransformation of TBA metabolites is fast, these compounds experience temperature and pH-dependent regeneration in the dark as a result of the instability of their major phototransformation products.

In some cases representative of those encountered in surface waters, up to 70% of the parent TBA metabolite can be regenerated in the absence of light.  This light-dark, diurnal reversion process is entirely unprecedented in the literature for steroids under environmentally relevant conditions.  Since even trace concentrations of TBA metabolites (ng/L) have been shown to induce a complete sex reversal in fish after embryonic exposures, this environmental persistence presents significant ecological concerns. Ultimately, the work demonstrates a previously unrecognized route by which dienone and trienone steroids, including TBA metabolites, some related human pharmaceuticals, and potentially structurally analogous transformation products, could persistent in aquatic systems longer than is currently realized.

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