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High-sensitivity analysis of female-steroid hormones in environmental samples

Tomšíková, Helena, Aufartová, Jana, Solich, Petr, Nováková, Lucie, Sosa-Ferrera, Zoraida, Santana-Rodríguez, José Juan
Trends in analytical chemistry 2012 v.34 pp. 35-58
derivatization, detection limit, endocrine system, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, estrogens, gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, pretreatment, progestational hormones, solid phase extraction, steroid hormones, steroids, tandem mass spectrometry, ultrasonics
Steroid hormones are endocrine-disrupting compounds, which affect the endocrine system at very low concentrations, so interest in the sensitive determination of steroids in the environment has increased in recent years. In this review, we discuss in detail how to enhance the sensitivity of analytical procedures for the determination of female-steroid hormones (estrogens and progestogens) in environmental matrices. Our objective is to help the reader choose the best analytical tool for sensitive, selective and fast determination of estrogens and progestogens. A number of steps in the analytical procedure, starting with the sample pre-treatment and ending with detection, could significantly contribute to enhancing sensitivity, so they need to be thoroughly optimized. The best results in analysis of estrogens and progestogens have been achieved with liquid chromatography (LC), as separation method, and tandem mass spectrometry (MS), as detection method, but we also discuss analysis using gas chromatography coupled to MS. Sample preparation depends on the kind of sample. Its optimization is important in reducing matrix interferences and plays a significant role in enhancing sensitivity. Liquid samples were most frequently prepared with off-line solid-phase extraction, while solid samples were also extracted by liquid-liquid, pressurized-liquid, microwave and ultrasound extraction techniques. In several studies, derivatization improved the sensitivity of LC-MS detection.