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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biological Treatment of Manure and Organic Residuals to Capture Nutrients and Transform Contaminants

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Title: Steroid hormones in biosolids and poultry litter: A comparison of potential environmental inputs

Authors
item Bevacqua, C -
item RICE, CLIFFORD
item Torrents, A -
item Ramirez, M -

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 9, 2010
Publication Date: March 12, 2011
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.02.007
Citation: Bevacqua, C., Rice, C., Torrents, A., Ramirez, M. 2011. Steroid hormones in biosolids and poultry litter: A comparison of potential environmental inputs. Science of the Total Environment. 409:2120-2126.

Interpretive Summary: There is a need to better understand environmental releases of endocrine active compounds from human activities, especially considering the increasing evidence that waterways are increasingly producing organisms with disrupted sexual functions. Natural and synthetic steroid hormones constitute major contributors to this loading and an important source of these chemicals is thought to be wastewater treatment plant discharges and waste from animal feeding operations. While these compounds have frequently been found in wastewater effluents, few studies have investigated biosolids or manure, which are routinely land applied, as potential sources. This study assessed the relative environmental contribution of steroid hormones from biosolids and chicken litter. Samples of limed biosolids collected from a waste treatment plant over a four year period ranged from <2.5-21.7 ng/g dry weight for estrone (E1) and <2.5-470 ng/g dry weight for progesterone. Chicken litter from 12 Mid-Atlantic farms had averages of 41.4 ng/g dry weight E1, 63.4 ng/g dry weight progesterone, and 19.2 ng/g dry weight E1-sulfate. Other analytes sought but not observed above our detection limits of 5 ng/g were 17ß-estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2), testosterone, E2-3-sulfate (E2-3-S), and E2-17-sulfate (E2-17-3).

Technical Abstract: Steroid hormones can act as potent endocrine disruptors when released into the environment. The main sources of these chemicals are thought to be wastewater treatment plant discharges and waste from animal feeding operations. While these compounds have frequently been found in wastewater effluents, few studies have investigated biosolids or manure, which are routinely land applied, as potential sources. This study assessed the relative environmental contribution of steroid hormones from biosolids and chicken litter. Samples of limed biosolids collected from a waste treatment plant over a four year period ranged from <2.5-21.7 ng/g dry weight for estrone (E1) and <2.5-470 ng/g dry weight for progesterone. Chicken litter from 12 Mid-Atlantic farms had averages of 41.4 ng/g dry weight E1, 63.4 ng/g dry weight progesterone, and 19.2 ng/g dry weight E1-sulfate. Other analytes sought were 17ß-estradiol (E2), estriol (E3), 17a-ethinylestradiol (EE2), testosterone, E2-3-sulfate (E2-3-S), and E2-17-sulfate (E2-17-3).

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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