Transport and fate of steroid estrogens in slurry-amended soil

Mette Laegdsmand, Ole Hørbye Jacobsen, Henrik Rasmus Andersen, Bent Halling-Sørensen

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Naturally occurring hormones in manure from livestock may cause negative
environmental effects, if they are released into natural waters. Estrogens in very low concentrations (ng L–1) may affect the endocrine system of fish and amphibians. Elevated levels of estrogens have been found in surface waters in areas of intensive manure application. To investigate if leaching through the soil profile is a significant transport mechanism for estrogens in slurry we conducted leaching experiments on intact soil. Undisturbed soil monoliths (60 cm diameter, 100 cm long) from two sites in Denmark (one loamy and one sandy soil) were amended with pig slurry spiked with a reactive tracer (17α-ethynylestradiol (EE2)) and a conservative tracer (bromide). The monoliths were exposed to (i) a short-term irrigation event and (ii) a natural precipitation long-term semi-field experiment. We found that natural estrogens in the slurry could be transported to one meters depth in both the loamy and the sandy soil. The concentrations observed could affect the endocrine system of aquatic wildlife. A higher percentage of the natural estrogens added to the monoliths was leached compared to the EE2. This indicates a higher mobility of the naturally occurring estrogens compared to a reactive tracer with similar transport characteristics (EE2).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNJF Seminar 373 Transport and retention of pollutants from different production systems.
EditorsToomas Tamm, Liisa Pietola
Place of PublicationEstonia
Publication date2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventNJF Seminar 373: Transport and retention of pollutants from different production systems - Tartu, Estonia
Duration: 11 Jun 200614 Jun 2006
Conference number: 373


ConferenceNJF Seminar 373
SeriesNJF Report


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