Biodegradation of Selected Endocrine Disrupting Compounds

  • Tomasz Grześkowiak
  • Beata Czarczyńska-Goślińska
  • Agnieszka Zgoła-GrześkowiakEmail author
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


Nowadays, many different chemicals exerting negative effects on both human and animal health are widely present in the environment. Compounds that interfere in the action of endocrine system due to their structural similarities to the real hormones called endocrine disrupting chemicals have received much attention because they are suspected to affect reproduction, development, metabolism of living organisms and even induce cancer. Moreover, the endocrine-related disorders are often passed down to the next generations and alter their disease susceptibility. This group of substances includes both naturally occurring chemicals (e.g., phytoestrogen—coumestrol) and synthetic compounds used in industrial processes, agriculture, and household products (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, some pesticides, components of plastics such as bisphenols and phthalates). Among these compounds there are some groups of chemicals still widely used and therefore constituting an important source of health hazards. The most important man-made endocrine disrupting compounds belong to three groups which met with great interest in last years, i.e., phthalates, bisphenols (mainly bisphenol A), and alkylphenols (used mainly as ethoxylates). Decades of their production and usage led to considerable contamination of the environment. They are found in water, air, soil, both animal and plant food. Therefore, growing number of studies are devoted to their degradation, biodegradation, and removal from the environment. Present studies on the biodegradation of phthalates, bisphenols, and alkylphenol derivatives aim mainly at testing of selected bacterial strains of different lineage including some Bacillus sp., Gordonia sp., Pseudoxanthomonas sp., Sphingomonas sp., and Rhodococcus sp. bacteria as well as other bacterial strains. Tests with fungi like Aspergillus sp. and Polyporus sp. or fungal enzymes like laccases are also carried out. Ultimately, understanding metabolic pathways of diverse species and genes involved in the biodegradation may help in constructing bacterial or fungal strains through usage of genetic engineering for effective removal of selected endocrine disrupting compounds. On the other hand, studies on removal of these contaminants from the environment were also undertaken. Biodegradation in natural waters, including seawater and in soil and sediments was tested to gain information on possibility of their removal from contaminated areas.

Key words

Endocrine disrupting compounds Bisphenols Alkylphenols Phthalates 



This work was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education grants number 03/31/DSPB/0341 and 502-01-03314429-03439.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomasz Grześkowiak
    • 1
  • Beata Czarczyńska-Goślińska
    • 2
  • Agnieszka Zgoła-Grześkowiak
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Chemistry and Technical ElectrochemistryPoznan University of TechnologyPoznańPoland
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical TechnologyPoznan University of Medical SciencesPoznańPoland

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