Two yeast-based bioassays were used to assess the endocrine activity potential of transformation products formed during the ozonation of water containing a variety of pesticides (propiconazole, atrazine, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid [2,4-D], tebuconazole, climbazole, myclobutanil, irgarol, terbutryn, dicamba, mecoprop and diuron). Ozone experiments were conducted first in reverse osmosis water to isolate the effects of the pesticides and then in synthetic wastewater and wastewater effluent to investigate whether the results translated to more complex matrices. The findings demonstrate the recalcitrant nature of most pesticides during ozonation, with removals below 50%, except for irgarol, terbutryn and climbazole with removals up to 70%. This study is the first one to investigate the removal of the fungicides myclobutanil and tebuconazole by ozonation and is one of the first studies to investigate the androgenic activity of ozonation transformation products of contaminants of emerging concern. These findings also demonstrated that during ozonation the initial anti-androgenic activity was removed while the estrogenic activity remained undetected and the androgenic activity increased to levels up to 60% of the anti-androgenic activity of the DHT control. These results indicate that bioactivity should be considered in the evaluation of treatment performance and risks assessment associated to wastewater discharges.
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Funding for this study was provided by a research grant to Viviane Yargeau (PI) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada through the Discovery Grant Program (RGPIN/04635-2015) and by the McGill Engineering Doctoral Award (MEDA).
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