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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An On-Farm Survey of Spatial and Temporal Stratifications of 17ß-Estradiol Concentrations

item Schuh, Mary
item Casey, Francis
item Hakk, Heldur
item Desutter, Tom
item Richards, Karl
item Khan, Eakalak
item Odour, Peter

Submitted to: Chemosphere
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2010
Publication Date: 3/1/2011
Citation: Schuh, M.C., Casey, F.X., Hakk, H., Desutter, T.M., Richards, K. G., Khan, E., Odour, P. 2011. An on-farm survey of spatial and temporal stratifications of 17ß-estradiol concentrations. Chemosphere. 82:1683-1689.

Interpretive Summary: 17ß-estradiol (E2) is a natural reproductive hormone that can cause endocrine disruption in aquatic organisms. Much E2 is present in manure, but lab studies show it should be readily absorbed to soil. However, it is frequently detected in the environment. The objectives of this study were to investigate the potential sources and farm characteristics leading to detections of E2 in groundwater. Soil cores were analyzed from four sites around a swine farm across time. Core extracts were analyzed for E2 using LC-MS/MS. E2 was detected in one-third of all extracts, and concentrations ranged from no detection to 2 µg/L. Detections displayed a strong temporal trend related to climate events. Higher E2 concentrations were detected in the upper profile, while more frequent detections were made in the lower soil column near the water table. E2 detections were associated with organic matter in the upper soil but with sand in the lower soil layers. Results suggested E2 was not directly related to manure sources, but was widespread in this environment, raising even more questions as to the source(s) and mechanism(s) that facilitate its transport and mobility in soil/water systems.

Technical Abstract: 17ß-estradiol (E2), a natural estrogenic hormone, may cause endocrine disruption in sensitive organisms. It has been reported to dissipate rapidly in soil laboratory studies, but is frequently detected in the environment leading to question about possible sources and processes that explain the mobility and persistence of E2. The objectives of this study were to investigate the potential sources and/or site characteristics contributing to detections of E2 at a farm-scale. Soil cores were taken down to the water table from four locations around a swine farm on five different dates between 2006 and 2007. Cores were segmented into 0.15cm increments and E2 was measured in the soil-water extracts using LC/MS. E2 was detected in 128 out of 345 extractions (37%), and concentrations ranged from 0 to 1910 ng L-1. A location that received manure was significantly lower than all other locations, perhaps related to fecal microorganisms that degrade E2. The spring 2007 E2 concentrations were significantly higher than all other sample dates. Detection trends appeared to be related to seasonal patterns or climate events. Where E2 was detected, highest concentrations favored the upper profile, while the greatest frequency of detections was in the lower profile and near the water table. Detections of E2 were associated with high organic matter contents in the upper profile and high sand contents in the lower profile.

Last Modified: 06/23/2017
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