Submitted to: U.S. Poultry and Egg
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/6/2003
Publication Date: 10/6/2003
Citation: Sharpe, R.R., Schomberg, H.H., Harper, L.A., Endale, D.M., Jenkins, M., Franzluebbers, A.J. 2003. Atmospheric emissions and the fate of estradiol, testosterone, Salmonella and Campylobacter from poultry litter applications. U.S. Poultry and Egg.
Technical Abstract: The production of over 4 billion poultry in the Southeastern United States results in the management of more than 4 million tons of feces and litter each year. This research determined gaseous emissions of ammonia associated with the land application of chicken litter and the presence and concentration of pathogenic bacteria and sex hormones. Ammonia losses to the atmosphere ranged from 5 to 23 lb per acre (3 to 24 percent of applied nitrogen) during the winter and summer, respectively. The largest losses occurred during hot, dry, windy conditions. Losses of 24 percent of the applied ammonia could result in nitrogen deficiency in the crop and could potentially be harmful to the environment. Precipitation of 0.7 inches essentially halted ammonia losses to the atmosphere. Levels of pathogens, fecal indicator organisms, and the sex hormones varied between different sources of poultry litter. There were no culturable salmonella or campylobacter in the poultry litter but the litter did contain the sex hormones estradiol and testosterone. The poultry litter applications did not appear to increase levels of hormones in the surface soil but rainfall resulted in increased levels of estradiol and testosterone in runoff when litter application was followed within a few weeks by the rain.