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Leaching of Free and Conjugate Natural Estrogens in Soil Monoliths

Casey, Francis X. M., Selbie, Diana, Hakk, Heldur, Richards, Karl G.
Water, air, and soil pollution 2019 v.230 no.2 pp. 49
animal manures, conjugated estrogens, dairy cows, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, estradiol, estriol, estrone, field capacity, leaching, lysimeters, preferential flow, urine
Natural free estrogens found in animal manures are potent endocrine-disrupting compounds. Environmental detections can be caused by such processes as physical and chemical non-equilibrium and colloidal or conjugate facilitate transport. Antecedent or “legacy” concentrations of estrogens resident in soil may also contribute significantly to environmental detections. The objective of this study was to measure and understand the dominant causes contributing to estrogen detections in the environment from a grazed system. To achieve this objective, the effluent of undisturbed lysimeters constructed from soils of fields grazed by dairy cows (Bos taurus) was monitored for free and conjugated estrogens. Four lysimeters were dosed with urine (Urine) and four only received water (Control). Water transfer for all lysimeters was similar, and all lysimeters were near field capacity for the duration of the experiment. Rapid transport of a conservative bromide tracer suggested that preferential flow was an important physical non-equilibrium transport process. Free estrogens and conjugated estrogens (17β-estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), 17β-estradiol-17-sulfate (E2-17S), 17β-estradiol-3-glucuronide (E2-3G), estrone-sulfate (E1-S)) were detected in the source urine (E2 = 17,248 ng/L, E1 = 1006 ng/L, E2-3G = 967 ng/L, E2-17S = 886,456 ng/L, E1-S = 1730 ng/L). These same free and conjugated estrogens, in addition to estriol (E3), were all detected frequently in both Control and Urine lysimeters (detection concentration ranks: E3 > E2-17S = E2 > E2-3G = E1 = E1-3S). Total potential estrogenicity in the effluent of the Control and Urine was also similar, indicating the presence of antecedent estrogens was the dominant contribution to estrogenic detections. Additionally, the frequent detection of conjugates in the lysimeter effluent was important, because it indicated that conjugates were stable in soil but had greater potential mobility than free estrogens.