, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 435–445 | Cite as

Simultaneous Determination of Trace Levels of 12 Steroid Hormones in Soil Using Modified QuEChERS Extraction Followed by Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry (UPLC–MS/MS)

  • Shuai Ma
  • Ping Han
  • An Li
  • Jihua Wang
  • Xiaoyuan Feng
  • Meng WangEmail author


Steroid hormones, mainly secreted by vertebrates, are discharged into the soil environment through surface runoff and land application of animal manure, sewage sludge, and organic fertilizers. The adequate analytical methods for steroid hormones in soil are lacking due to the requirement of rigorous sample pre-treatment. In this study, a rapid and effective modified QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) method was developed for trace simultaneous analysis of 12 steroid hormones (estrogen, androgens, and progestogens) in soil samples using ultra performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS/MS). Samples were extracted by the mixture of acetonitrile and acetate buffer, and then cleaned with PSA/C18 absorbents. The QuEChERS method was validated by evaluating the linearity, repeatability, accuracy and precision. A suitable linear relationship was obtained in the mass concentration range of 1–100 ng g−1 with high correlation coefficients (> 0.9927). The method enabled the determination of the target analytes with limits of detection between 0.0014 and 0.462 ng g−1 and limits of quantification between 0.0047 and 1.54 ng g−1. Soil was spiked at 5, 50 and 100 ng g−1, and the recoveries ranged from 75.17 to 110.33% with relative standard deviations ≤ 9.45. The developed method was successfully applied to the analysis of soil samples collected in Beijing, and five hormones (E1, E3, αE2, And, and Tes) were detected with the concentrations ranging from 0.35 to 7.09 ng g−1.

Graphical Abstract


Soil Steroid hormones QuEChERS UPLC–MS/MS 



The present work was funded by the Open Project of the Risk Assessment Lab for Agro-products (Beijing) Ministry of Agriculture (ZBZXKFKT201503), Open Project of the Risk Assessment Lab for Agro-products (Beijing) Ministry of Agriculture (ZBZXKFKT201701) and Special projects of construction of science and technology innovation ability of Beijing academy of agriculture and forestry sciences (KJCX20150408).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest with this study.

Ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. No compliance with ethical standards was involved.

Supplementary material

10337_2017_3464_MOESM1_ESM.doc (54 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 53 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Research Center for Agricultural Standards and TestingBeijingChina
  2. 2.Risk Assessment Laboratory for Agro-Products (Beijing)Ministry of AgricultureBeijingChina
  3. 3.Beijing Municipal Key Laboratory of Agriculture Environment MonitoringBeijingChina

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