Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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GLRPPR Sector Resource: A Preliminary Assessment of Isoflavones in an Agricultural Environment

A Preliminary Assessment of Isoflavones in an Agricultural Environment

Isoflavones are phytoestrogens that are abundant in the legume family. Little information exists on the presence of these compounds in the agricultural environment. We conducted a preliminary investigation of selected phytoestrogens in a small highly-cultivated watershed in central Illinois. Paired water and sediment samples were collected from 7 different locations in central Illinois during 2007 and analyzed for a suite of 14 phytoestrogens, including 12 isoflavones, coumestrol, and flavone (used as an internal standard). Seven of the phytoestrogens we measured were detected in low concentrations (parts per trillion) in water, whereas eight analytes were observed in sediment samples at higher concentrations (parts per billion) than in water samples. Our results suggested seasonality to the observed presence of these compounds. Based on the patterns observed in parent compounds and their metabolites, it appears that there are multiple sources of these phytoestrogens in the agricultural environment. Additional studies to further elucidate the patterns observed in this pilot study are warranted. [Editorial note: This project was funded by ISTC on a limited basis as a seed project. There were some analytical issues due to severe matrix suppression in LC/MS which may limit the usefulness of some of the results and these should be taken into consideration as readers view the report.]


Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
March 2010

Associated Sectors:

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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