Persistence of androgens, progestogens, and glucocorticoids during commercial animal manure composting process.


SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Environmental Theoretical Chemistry, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Animal manure contains various organic contaminants such as steroids. The fate of these steroids during composting is still unknown. Here we investigated the fate of androgens, progestogens, and glucocorticoids during animal manure composting and evaluated their residues in compost-applied soils. The results showed the presence of 16 steroid hormones in the initial compost with concentrations ranging from 3.26 ng/g dw (Cortisol) to 2520 ng/g dw (5α-dihydroprogesterone). The concentrations of almost all detected hormones increased on the 2nd day of composting, and some of them increased several or even dozens of times. Steroids such as hydroxyprogesterone caproate, melengestrol acetate, and methyltestosterone were not found in the initial compost but later detected during the composting process. After 171 days of composting, only 40.4% of detected steroid hormones was removed, and the total concentration of detected steroids was still as high as 3210 ng/g dw. The removal rates of some target compounds were negative, especially for the natural androgens androsta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione and the synthetic androgen 17β-boldenone whose concentrations significantly increased by the end of composting, indicating conversion from their conjugates or transformation from other steroids. The steroid hormones were mainly eliminated in the first three weeks; prolonged composting time did not obviously promote further removal. The variations in steroid concentration were related to the changes in compost properties such as pH and temperature during the composting process. The dissipation of steroid hormones was also linked to the changes of microbial communities in the compost to some extent. Twelve steroids were detected in the compost-treated soils of a kailyard, while 26 steroid hormones were detected in the roots of Chinese cabbages grown on the soil. The results suggest that the application of manure compost product can lead to soil contamination and plant uptake.


Animal manure,Composting,Dissipation,Health risk,Soil,Steroid hormones,