The Science of the total environment

Steroids in marine aquaculture farms surrounding Hailing Island, South China: occurrence, bioconcentration, and human dietary exposure.

PMID 25268569


The occurrence, bioconcentration, and human dietary exposure via seafood consumption of 24 steroids were investigated by rapid resolution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (RRLC-MS/MS) in six typical marine aquaculture farms surrounding Hailing Island, South China. Ten, 9, 10, 15 of 24 steroids were detected at concentrations ranging from <0.1 (testosterone) to 40 ng/L (prednisolone), from 0.1 (4-androstene-3,17-dione) to 2.4 ng/g (progesterone), from 0.3 ng/g (testosterone) to 21.4 ng/g (epi-androsterone), and from <0.1 (testosterone) to 560 ng/g (cortisol) (wet weight) in the water, sediment, feed and biota samples, respectively. Synthetic steroids (androsta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione, 17α-boldenone, 17β-boldenone, 17β-trenbolone, prednisolone, norgestrel) were detected in the feed samples, clearly demonstrating the illegal use of steroids in the feed. The field bioconcentration factors (BCFs) of steroids calculated in different aquatic organisms ranged from 93.8 to 4000. The estimated daily intakes (EDIs) of androgens, glucocorticoids, and progestagens via consumption of seafood (i.e., shrimps, crabs, mollusks, and fish) for different age groups were in the range of 33.4-134, 2061-8566, and 40.4-155 ng/d for children (2-5 years), youth (6-18 years), and adults (>18 years), respectively. Even though no significant risk from dietary exposure arises from individual steroid, elevated risk to humans can result from the occurrence of multiple steroids in the seafood raised in the aquaculture farms, especially for the sensitive populations, such as pregnant women and children.