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Dissolved Organic Carbon and Estrogen Transport in Surface Runoff From Agricultural Land Receiving Poultry Litter


  • Paper No. JAWRA-10-0171-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) Discussions are open until six months from print publication.



Dutta, Sudarshan, Shreeram Inamdar, Jerry Tso, Diana S. Aga, and J. Tom Sims, 2012. Dissolved Organic Carbon and Estrogen Transport in Surface Runoff from Agricultural Land Receiving Poultry Litter. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 48(3): 558-569. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00634.x

Abstract:  Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) provides a reactive substrate for the transport of organic contaminants with runoff. Very few studies have investigated the export of DOC from agricultural land, especially those receiving manure applications. We investigated exports of DOC in surface runoff from agricultural fields receiving various treatments of poultry litter (raw vs. pelletized). In addition, we also investigated how estrogens in runoff were associated with DOC. Different forms of estrogens studied were: estrone, 17β-estradiol, estriol, and their conjugates. Experimental agricultural plots were 12 m × 5 m long and had reduced tillage and no-till management practices. The aromatic content of DOC was characterized using specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA). Flow-weighted concentrations of DOC and SUVA in surface runoff from plots with poultry litter were significantly (p ≤ 0.10) greater than the control (no litter) plots. Compared to pelletized poultry litter, reduced-tillage plots with raw litter yielded higher DOC concentrations and SUVA values. No significant differences (p ≥ 0.10) in DOC and SUVA were observed between litter treatments for plots with no-till. Total estrogen concentrations (including all forms) were positively and significantly (p ≤ 0.10) correlated with DOC. These results can help select and guide agricultural management practices that can reduce the exports of DOC and associated contaminant from agricultural land receiving manure applications.