Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Eric Conte, John Loughrin, Lei Li

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


The global concern regarding the presence of compounds with estrogenic properties in the environment has grown significantly. Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are environmental pollutants that disrupt the endocrine systems of both wildlife and humans. Estrogens, with their potent estrogenic effects, are particularly noteworthy among the various substances with endocrine-disrupting properties. They are of concern due to their prevalence in the environment, especially due to dairy waste contamination. These lipophilic compounds can accumulate in livestock fat tissues, potentially entering the human food chain. Sulfated forms of estrone and β- estriol, which exhibit a higher degree of saturation than their non-conjugated counterparts, have also been detected in the environment. The persistence of these saturated conjugated estrogens in the environment raises significant environmental and health concerns, as they possess estrogenic activity and can lead to greater human endocrine disruption than non-conjugated estrogens. While free estrogen forms in the environment have been extensively studied, their conjugated counterparts have received less attention.

In this study, we present a chromatographic method for the quantification of estrone and β- estriol and their conjugated forms. Specifically, the gas chromatographic portion of the method involves converting all respective sulfated conjugates to estrone or β-estradiol through acid hydrolysis. We apply this method to quantify estrogen conjugates present in dairy cattle waste and the surrounding dairy farm environment, aiming to monitor their distribution and impact on the ecosystem. This analytical approach contributes to our understanding of the environmental fate of estrogens and their conjugated forms, shedding light on potential risks associated with their presence in the environment and food chain.


Agriculture | Analytical Chemistry | Animal Sciences | Chemistry | Dairy Science | Life Sciences