Occurrence, behavior and risk assessment of estrogens in surface water and sediments from Hanjiang River, Central China

  • Ying Hu
  • Xue Yan
  • Yun Shen
  • Mingxiao Di
  • Jun WangEmail author


Estrogens have been widely detected in water and might pose a potential threat to the aquatic ecosystem. However, little information is available about the occurrence, multi-phase fate and potential risks of estrogens in Hanjiang River (HR). In this work, the concentration, multi-phase distribution and risk assessment of eight estrogens were studied by investigating surface water and sediment samples from HR during two seasons. These samples were analyzed using the solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The concentrations of eight estrogens were 4.5–111 ng/l in surface water and 1.7–113 ng/g dry weight in sediments. 4-nonylphenol (NP) was the predominant estrogen in both water and sediments. The estrogens showed significantly spatial variability, with the highest average concentration in the lower section of HR (p < 0.01, F > 12.21). Meanwhile, NP, 17α-estradiol (αE2), Bisphenol A (BPA) and 4-tert-octyphenol (OP) in surface water exhibited higher concentrations in summer than in winter (p < 0.05, F > 4.62). The sediment-water partition coefficients of estrogens suggested that these compounds partitioned more to particulate phase. Risk assessment indicated that estriol (E3) was the main contributor to the total estradiol equivalent concentration. Moreover, estrogen mixtures could pose high ecological risks to aquatic organisms in surface water. Overall, estrogens are ubiquitous in HR, and their potential ecological risks should not be neglected.


Estrogen Partition coefficient Risk assessment Hanjiang River (HR) 



This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31361140360) and China Postdoctoral Foundation (No. Y71I321K02). The authors are grateful to acknowledge Yang Yuyi and Qi Yueling for their help. The authors also would like to appreciate the reviewers for their suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10646_2018_2007_MOESM1_ESM.doc (579 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Hu
    • 1
  • Xue Yan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yun Shen
    • 1
  • Mingxiao Di
    • 1
  • Jun Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanP. R. China
  2. 2.Sino-Africa Joint Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanP. R. China

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