Liquid chromatographic determination of the estrogens daidzein, formononetin, coumestrol, and equol in bovine blood plasma and urine

J Assoc Off Anal Chem. Sep-Oct 1988;71(5):938-41.


A liquid chromatographic (LC) method is described for the determination of the plant estrogens diadzein, formononetin, and coumestrol and the estrogenically active metabolite equol in bovine blood plasma and urine. The blood and urine samples are incubated overnight with and without beta-glucuronidase/sulfatase for analysis of both free and conjugated forms of estrogens. Samples are applied to Extrelut columns, extracted with ethyl acetate, and evaporated to dryness. Residues from urine samples are dissolved in methanol, diluted with water, acidified with HCl, and purified by injection through a Sep-Pak C18 cartridge. This eluate is used for LC analysis. Residues from blood samples are dissolved in benzene-petroleum ether (1 + 1), extracted with ammonium hydroxide, acidified with glacial acetic acid, and extracted with ethyl acetate. The ethyl acetate extract is evaporated, dissolved in 80% methanol, injected onto a LC reverse-phase column, and separated in a linear gradient system between 40 and 80% methanol in phosphate buffer. Quantitation is performed by means of UV and fluorescence responses. The method was sensitive enough to determine 0.4 ng/mL of daidzein and formononetin and 0.1 and 13 ng/mL of coumestrol and equol, respectively, in blood, and 130, 80, and 7 ng/mL of daidzein, formononetin, and coumestrol, respectively, and 4 micrograms/mL of equol in urine. The applicability of the method was checked by the determination of total and free plant estrogens in blood samples from a dairy cow fed a normal diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chromans / analysis
  • Chromans / blood
  • Chromans / urine
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Coumestrol / analysis
  • Coumestrol / blood
  • Coumestrol / urine
  • Electrochemistry
  • Equol
  • Estradiol Congeners / analysis*
  • Estradiol Congeners / blood
  • Estradiol Congeners / urine
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Isoflavones / analysis
  • Isoflavones / blood
  • Isoflavones / urine
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / analysis
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / blood
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / urine
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • 4',7-dihydroxy-3,4-dihydroisoflavone
  • Chromans
  • Estradiol Congeners
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Isoflavones
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • formononetin
  • Equol
  • daidzein
  • Coumestrol