Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Animal Metabolism-Agricultural Chemicals Research

Title: Potential bioactivity and association of 17ß-estradiol with the dissolved and colloidal fractions of manure and soil

item Chambers, Katrin
item Casey, Francis
item Hakk, Heldur
item Desutter, Thomas
item Shappell, Nancy

Submitted to: Science of the Total Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/27/2014
Publication Date: 10/1/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Chambers, K.B., Casey, F.X., Hakk, H., Desutter, T.M., Shappell, N.W. 2014. Potential bioactivity and association of 17ß-estradiol with the dissolved and colloidal fractions of manure and soil. Science of the Total Environment. 494/495:58-64.

Interpretive Summary: Estrogens are constantly being eliminated by production animals. Our previous laboratory studies demonstrated that estrogens should be readily bound to the organic matter of most soils or animal wastes, however, these endocrine disrupting compounds are commonly found in surface and groundwater. We wanted to test if the estrogens eliminated from animals were transported through soil associated with either dissolved organic matter or particulates in water. If true, this would explain estrogen transport into surface and groundwater. In laboratory studies, we added estrogen to soluble and/or particulate fractions of manure and/or agricultural soils saturated with water and studied the fate and biological activity of estrogen. Consistent with our theory, estrogen readily partitioned into both the organics-ladened water fraction and the water-borne particulate fraction. However, only the organics-ladened water fraction maintained biological activity as measured by its affinity for the estrogen receptor. Our findings suggest that water transport of estrogens into surface and groundwater following manure application and rainfall is a likely mechanism.

Technical Abstract: The dissolved (DF) and colloidal fractions (CF) of soil and manure may play an important role in the environmental fate and transport of steroidal estrogens, therefore, the first objective of this study was to quantify the association of [14C]17ß-estradiol (E2) with the DF and CF isolated from (i) liquid swine manure (LSM), (ii) a soil:water mixture (Soil), and (iii) a soil:water:LSM mixture (Soil+LSM). The average amount of [14C]E2 that associated with the DF ranged from 67%-72%, 76%-78%, and 67%-79% for the Soil, LSM and Soil+LSM, respectively. The second objective was to evaluate whether the E2 that associated with the various fractions from the three media could induce an estrogenic response as measured with an E2-receptor competitor assay. The assay results indicated that E2 present in the DF of the Soil and Soil+LSM solutions was capable of interacting with the estrogen receptor, but that E2 present in the CF could not. In the context of manure management and understanding the fate and transport of E2 in the environment, these studies demonstrated that the majority of fortified E2 would associate with the DF derived from soil and manure, putatively enhancing its advective transport in surface and groundwater. Furthermore, this study suggested that E2 in dissolved fractions in the environmental could act as an endocrine disrupting compound through its ability to interact with the estrogen receptor.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page