High estrogen concentrations in receiving river discharge from a concentrated livestock feedlot.

Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 91201, Taiwan.
Science of The Total Environment (Impact Factor: 3.26). 07/2010; 408(16):3223-30. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.054
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Environmental estrogenic chemicals interrupt endocrine systems and generate reproductive abnormalities in wildlife, especially natural and synthetic estrogenic steroid hormones such as 17beta-estradiol (E2), estrone (E1), estriol (E3), 17alpha-ethynylestradiol (EE2), and diethylstilbestrol (DES). Concentrated animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) are of particular concern since large amounts of naturally excreted estrogens are discharged into aquatic environments. This study investigated E2, E1, E3, EE2, and DES with high performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass (HPLC-MS/MS) analyses along Wulo Creek in southern Taiwan, near a concentrated livestock feedlot containing 1,030,000 broiler chickens, 934,000 laying hens, 85,000 pigs, and 1500 cattle. Sampling was performed from December 2008 to May 2009, in which 54 samples were collected. Experimental results indicate that concentrations of EE2 were lower than the limit of detection (LOD), and concentrations of DES were only detected twice. Concentrations ranged from 7.4 to 1267 ng/L for E1, from not detected (ND) to 313.6 ng/L for E2, and from ND to 210 ng/L for E3. E1 had the highest average mass fraction (72.2 + or - 3.6%), which was significantly higher than E3 (16.2 + or - 1.7%) and E2 (11.5 + or - 2.6%). Additionally, the mean E2 equivalent quotient (EEQ) ranged from 17.3 to 137.9 ng-E2/L. Despite having a markedly lower concentration than E1, E2 more significantly contributed (52.4 + or - 6.0%) EEQ than E1 (19.7 + or - 3.5%). Moreover, the concentrations of E2, E1, and E3 upstream were significantly higher than concentrations downstream, suggesting a high attenuation effect and fast degradation in the study water. Most concentrations in winter season were higher than those of spring season due to the low dilution effect and low microbial activity in the winter season. Based on the results of this study, we recommend further treatment of the wastewater discharge from the feedlot.

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