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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Organic Compounds in the Environment

Organic Waste Effects on the Behavior of 17β-estradiol, Estrone, and 17α-ethinylestradiol in Agricultural Soils in Long- and Short-Term Setups


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 3, p. 907-916
    Received: June 15, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): britta.stumpe@rub.de
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  1. Britta Stumpe * and
  2. Bernd Marschner
  1. Dep. of Soil Science and Soil Ecology, Institute of Geography, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universtitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany. Assigned to Associate Editor K.G. Karthikeyan


Natural and synthetic estrogens can reach agricultural soils with manures, biosolids, or wastewater. This study evaluates (i) the effects of long-term field application of such organic soil amendments and (ii) the short-term effects of 14 different organic amendments in one agricultural soil on mineralization and sorption of 14C-labeled 17β-estradiol, estrone, and 17α-ethinylestradiol. Long-term organic waste applications resulted in increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) contents, causing increased estrogen sorption. The mineralization of the estrogens was enhanced by up to 147% or depressed by up to 50%, depending on site and organic waste, but not related to changes in sorption parameters. Short-term organic waste amendments directly increased estradiol mineralization to up to 70% in the treated soil compared with 5% in the untreated control. Estradiol sorption increased with the amount of incorporated organic waste, but the log K oc values of 3.1–3.2 L kg−1 for organic wastes showed a lower sorption potential for estrogens compared with 3.5 L kg−1 in the untreated soil. The effects of organic waste amendments on estrogen behavior depend on amendment type and aging. Short-term organic waste applications to soil resulted in enhanced microbial estrogen mineralization likely due to cometabolic processes. In soils with a long history of organic waste amendments, the controlling factor for estrogen sorption is an increased SOC content. The observed positive or negative effects on estrogen mineralization in these soils are not well understood. Surprisingly, the increase in estrogen sorption to the soil solid phase either through short-term or long-term organic waste application does not control estrogen mineralization.

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