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Environmental toxicology
Master exam

Master thesis on the effects of bisphenol compounds on Atlantic cod estrogen receptor

In her master thesis, Christine Tveiten Johansen, has studied how bisphenol compounds activate or inhibit estrogen receptor in Atlantic cod. She shows disturbing results of the substitute compounds can be more harmful that the known plastic additive bisphenol A.

Christine holding up a print of a cod head
A happy master student showing her gift from the research group: a print of an Atlantic cod head by Harald Kryvi.
Photo:
Anders Goksøyr

Bisphenol A (BPA) has been useful in the production of plastic products since the 1950s, including food and beverage storage. In the last decade, research has shown that the drug can act as a hormone disruptor by activating the estrogen receptor.

BPA has therefore been prohibited in more products, such as baby bottles. As substitute, other bisphenol compounds are introduced without knowing the effect of these. Many of the new bisphenol substances are found in the environment, also in cod livers in the Oslo Fjord.

In her master's thesis, Christine has studied whether twelve different bisphenol compounds can activate or inhibit the estrogen receptor of Atlantic cod. She found that many of the substitutes gave a higher activation of the receptor, or activated at a lower dose than BPA. She also found that the compunds have different effects in different test systems, which illustrates the importance of designing good risk assessment studies.

We congratulate Christine on a great presentation of her thesis, and wish her a wonderful Christmas holiday!