Institute: Puerto Rico
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $39,200 Total Non-Federal Funds: $85,912
Principal Investigators: Jorge Ortiz-Zayas
Abstract: Modernity has arrived with important advances but has also introduced new environmental challenges, especially those related to water pollution. Particularly, urban rivers are receiving increasing inputs of treated and untreated industrial and domestic wastewater. Concern exists that many natural and synthetic chemicals (named endocrine disrupting compounds or EDCs) may interfere with the endocrine system of both humans and wildlife. There has not been any formal screening of EDC's in tropical urban rivers. We propose application of a new bioassay technique as a rapid monitoring tool to assess estrogenic activity in an urban river in Puerto Rico. The use of this yeast-based assay system is convenient due to the rapid growth rate of S. cerevisiae, relative low assay cost, and the high conservation of regulatory mechanisms between mammalian and yeast cells in regards to this system. The Rio Piedras, an urban river in San Juan, Puerto Rico will be intensively monitored for estrogenic activity. Preliminary data revealed estrogenic activity levels in the picomoles range. However, the dynamic nature of human activities in a urban watershed requires a more comprehensive monitoring approach. A GC-MS will be used to characterize estrogenic compounds in water samples. Finally, the effect of wastewater treatments on the removal efficiency of estrogenic compounds will be studied by sampling different wastewater treatment plants, artificial wetlands, and oxidation ponds.