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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Special Submissions

Degradation Kinetics of Testosterone by Manure-Borne Bacteria: Influence of Temperature, pH, Glucose Amendments, and Dissolved Oxygen


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 39 No. 4, p. 1153-1160
    Received: Mar 25, 2009

    * Corresponding author(s): borch@colostate.edu
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  1. Yun-Ya Yanga,
  2. Thomas Borch *ab,
  3. Robert B. Younga,
  4. Lawrence D. Goodridgec and
  5. Jessica G. Davisad
  1. a Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170
    b Dep. of Chemistry, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523-1872
    c Dep. of Animal Sciences, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523-1171
    d Institute for Livestock and the Environment, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170


Land application of manure may contribute endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) such as steroid hormones to the environment. Little attention has been paid to the potential for degradation of steroid hormones by manure-borne bacteria and their degradation kinetics and pathways. In a laboratory study, the potential for biodegradation of testosterone, 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone by swine (Sus scrofa) manure-borne bacteria was examined. In addition, the impact of temperature, pH (6, 7, and 7.5), glucose amendments (0, 3, and 22 mmol L−1), and presence of oxygen on testosterone degradation kinetics was determined. Testosterone, 17β-estradiol and progesterone were biodegraded within 25 h of reaction initiation under aerobic conditions. The degradation of testosterone followed pseudo first-order and zero-order reaction kinetics under aerobic and anaerobic conditions, respectively, in tryptic soy broth (TSB) pre-enriched systems. The half-life (t1/2) for the degradation of testosterone under anaerobic conditions was six times longer than aerobic conditions. Testosterone degradation was found to significantly increase (∼ 17%) when incubated at 37°C vs. 22°C. The impact of pH (t1/2 ranged from 4.4–4.9 h) and glucose amendments (t1/2 ranged from 4.6–5.1 h) on the testosterone degradation rate were found to be small. Testosterone was transformed to dehydrotestosterone (DHT) (major degradation product), androstenedione (AD), and androstadienedione (ADD) under aerobic conditions as revealed by liquid chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOF-MS). These results indicate that testosterone is rapidly degraded by manure-borne bacteria under a wide range of environmentally relevant conditions. However, the formed degradation products are still of potential concern due to their endocrine disrupting potential.

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