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Title: Estrogen transport in surface runoff from agricultural fields treated with two different application methods of dairy manure

item MINA, ODETTE - Pennsylvania State University
item GAIL, HEATHER - Pennsylvania State University
item Saporito, Louis - Lou
item Kleinman, Peter

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2016
Publication Date: 9/1/2016
Citation: Mina, O., Gail, H., Saporito, L.S., Kleinman, P.J. 2016. Estrogen transport in surface runoff from agricultural fields treated with two different application methods of dairy manure. Journal of Environmental Quality. 45(6):2007-2015. DOI:10.2134/jeq2016.05.0173.

Interpretive Summary: Little is known about the fate of hormones in dairy manure, and even less is understood about how to prevent off-site pollution of hormones from agricultural soils receiving manure. Scientists from Penn State and USDA’s agricultural research service found that injecting dairy manure into soil, rather than applying the manure to the surface of the soil, significantly reduced estrogen loss in runoff water. Their results offer an important manure management tool for watersheds where emerging contaminants, such as hormones, are of concern.

Technical Abstract: While the land-application of animal manure provides many benefits, concerns exist regarding the subsequent transport of hormones and potential effects on aquatic ecosystems. This study compares two methods of dairy manure application, surface broadcasting and shallow disk injection, on the fate and transport of natural estrogens in surface runoff from 12 large field plots in central Pennsylvania, USA. Ten natural surface runoff events were sampled over a nine-month period following fall manure application. Results show that the “hot event” associated with estrogen transport depends on the method of application, with the majority of estrogen loads from surface broadcast plots occurring during the first rainfall event after application, whereas the majority of the estrogen loads following shallow disk injection occurred more than 6 months later during a hail storm event. Total estrogen loads in surface runoff were, on average, two orders of magnitude lower for surface broadcast compared to shallow disk injection. Independent of the method of manure application, both the parent compound 17 alpha-estradiol and its metabolite estrone were preserved in the field for as long as nine months following application. Overall, injection of manure shows promise in reducing the potential for off-site losses of hormones from manure-amended soils.