Influence of Chemical Behavior on the Fate and Transport of Hormonal Compounds in Agricultural Systems Receiving Animal Waste

EPA Grant Number: U915932
Title: Influence of Chemical Behavior on the Fate and Transport of Hormonal Compounds in Agricultural Systems Receiving Animal Waste
Investigators: Ullman, Jeffrey L.
Institution: Texas A & M University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2004
Project Amount: $92,534
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Other Engineering , Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry


The objective of this research project is to systematically examine the specific chemical behavior of hormonal compounds. The project will focus on liquid handling systems used by certain concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), including layer and dairy operations. The first objective of the project will identify the primary metabolites that form during degradation of lagoon effluent. Hormonal compounds in the environment are of increasing concern, as they present a risk to both human and wildlife populations. Natural hormones present a potentially significant and potent environmental load from CAFOs during land application of manure that may result in regional surface or groundwater concentrations significantly above ambient levels. Research has begun to address this issue from a monitoring standpoint, but essentially, no examination of specific chemical behavior of estrogens and testosterones has been conducted. Further research is needed to enhance our understanding of hormone fate and transport to develop improved best management practices (BMPs).


The principal metabolites will be used to determine adsorption characteristics in a variety of soil types and degradation rates. Leaching chambers will provide determination of breakthrough curves for the predetermined compounds using radiolabel techniques to provide accurate partitioning of different species through the soil column. The final experimental portion of this research program will use a small watershed approach, where leaching and runoff samples will be analyzed to determine the transport mechanisms associated with each species. The degradation, adsorption, and primary movement characteristics determined in the laboratory and field situations will subsequently be incorporated into a model.

This research project will provide a tool that can be used by agency and academic personnel in developing BMPs that promote the retention of hormonal compounds originating from agricultural operations.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, hormonal compounds, agricultural systems, natural hormones, environmental load, groundwater, CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations.

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final