Comparison of Soxhlet and reflux techniques for extraction and characterisation of potential endocrine-disrupting compounds from solid waste dumpsite soil

  • Mosotho J. GeorgeEmail author
  • Kwenga F. Sichilongo
  • Tsifhiwa Ramabulana
  • Ntakadzeni E. Madala
  • Ian A. Dubery


Landfill leachate contains a myriad of hazardous chemicals; as such, they should always be planned and constructed following approved guidelines. A sample of soil collected from the old quarry designated as the official solid waste disposal site in Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho, was exposed to two extraction techniques, namely Soxhlet and reflux extractions, for characterisation of the potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the leachate. Principal component analysis was used to compare the extractability of these chemicals between the two methods, and it revealed that phthalates extract better in Soxhlet than in reflux extraction. Other compounds do not show as much difference. Qualitative analysis of the extracts revealed several compounds of environmental health interest, namely anthracene, bis-di-ethylhexyl-phthalates and di-tert-butylphenol. A review of the literature on some of the annotated compounds was explored for the likely sources thereof. It was discovered that most of the compounds that were identified have plastic origins and are listed as potential endocrine disruptors. The identified compounds were similar to those reported elsewhere in the literature.


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals Soxhlet extraction Reflux extraction Solid waste dumpsite GC-MS 


Funding information

The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge OPCW (Grant No. L/ICA/ICB/196770/15), National University of Lesotho (Grant No. P116-9008), University of Botswana and University of Johannesburg for supporting this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Chemical TechnologyNational University of LesothoP.O. RomaLesotho
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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