This research project aims to investigate the risk of foodborne exposure to environmental pollutants capable of mimicking or modulating the action of natural hormones.
<p>This investigation will use a culture of yeast, genetically engineered to include a human receptor for oestrogen (recombinant yeast cell), to detect potential EDCs able to mimic the activity of oestrogen.
<p>The in vitro assays developed during this project will use an artificial 'metabolic activation' system (S9), developed previously, in order to simulate the natural chemical transformations of potential EDCs in the body.
<p>The use of an immobilised version of the oestrogen receptor is being studied as a means of extracting oestrogen from complex mixtures such as food.
Concern has been expressed in parts of the scientific community and the news media that an apparently increasing occurrence of abnormalities in wildlife may be associated with environmental pollutants capable of mimicking or modulating the action of natural hormones.
<p>The term 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' (EDCs) has been used to classify such substances. EDCs are generally defined as external substances that cause adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, consequent to changes in endocrine function.
<p>Generally, these compounds are soluble in fat, which may cause them to accumulate in the food chain and thus provide a route for human exposure.
<p>An estimate of the total activity present could help inform the evaluation of the risk to consumers from foodborne exposures, and prioritise future investigations.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.